Funding for Warfield project is cut from state budget

April 14, 1999|By Mary Gail Hare | Mary Gail Hare,SUN STAFF

Sykesville's plans to restore abandoned hospital buildings and create an employment campus at the Warfield Complex along Route 32 have fallen to the state's budget ax.

The $100,000 in planning money for the Warfield Complex -- 138 acres and 15 aging buildings once part of Springfield Hospital Center -- was eliminated from the state budget this week.

Gov. Parris N. Glendening's supplemental budget initially had included $200,000 for "planning assistance and technical advice" to the town "for disposition and redevelopment of the Warfield Complex." The amount was pared to $100,000.

The town has created an ambitious plan to restore the century-old buildings and construct several others, including an 80-room hotel. It has prospects for more than 60 percent of the space.

"Without the money, we will have to slow down dramatically," said Mayor Jonathan S. Herman. "We can proceed only with what we can do without local taxpayer liability."

After town residents overwhelmingly approved the annexation of Warfield two months ago, Herman received a phone call from the governor, who offered congratulations and assurances that money would be dedicated to the project.

"He told me that he had requested $200,000 and promised he would get us as much of that as he could," said Herman. "He was confident then that he could get a good portion for us."

Herman called the governor yesterday to see what other funding might be available. He has had no reply, but remains confident that sources will be located.

"I know the governor genuinely supports the project and likes the town," said Herman. "I think he will do what he has to to see Warfield succeed."

Del. Joseph M. Getty, a Manchester Republican, said the town may have other options.

"There is lots of reserve money in the budget and other avenues to get planning money," Getty said.

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