Keep police training center in Carroll, Schaefer urges

Glendening seeks to move academic phase of project

February 16, 1999|By Mary Gail Hare | Mary Gail Hare,SUN STAFF

State Comptroller William Donald Schaefer toured the partially completed Law Enforcement Training Center in Sykesville recently and added his name to the growing list of those opposed to moving the last phase of the project from Carroll County.

A state decision to build the center -- which would eventually cost $53 million -- on property once part of Springfield Hospital Center came 10 years ago during Schaefer's first term as governor.

After touring the site Feb. 6 with state Treasurer Richard N. Dixon, Schaefer said he remains committed to the location.

"I have not changed my mind," said Schaefer. "We supported it at that time. The Sykesville site is not wrong today. I don't see anything wrong with it."

Schaefer visited the driving training course and shooting range, and the aging buildings that would be restored for the academic part of the project.

Gov. Parris N. Glendening scrapped the restoration phase -- classrooms, dormitories and offices -- last month, saying it did not meet his Smart Growth legislation to control sprawl by directing development to existing communities.

Schaefer said the governor's staff has shown him several possible sites in Baltimore for the academic phase, but he has not seen any that would change his mind.

"There are good sites in Baltimore City, but you can't stop everything once you have made a commitment, and [Glendening] made a commitment to Sykesville," he said. "That is a promise, and you keep your promises."

Schaefer and Dixon, who decide on land acquisition with the governor as members of the state Board of Public Works, have said they would vote against funding land for another site.

"It has to come before the board, and I am not voting for any change," said Dixon. "Whenever it comes before the board, it will die there."

That opposition could "box in the governor as far as relocating," said Del. Joseph M. Getty, a Manchester Republican. "It does not guarantee the center will be completed in Sykesville, but Glendening will either have to change his mind or he won't have a center."

When the Sykesville center was dedicated two years ago, Glendening gave it his blessing, calling it "a wonderful asset." But last month, he scrapped the remaining phase.

Pub Date: 2/16/99

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