Productive session for county

Anne Arundel: State aid won for variety of projects, but question looms on school construction.

April 16, 1999

ANNE ARUNDEL'S delegation to the General Assembly can point to some successes in the session that concluded Monday.

It secured $1.5 million for projects throughout the county: renovation of the Chesapeake Center for the Creative Arts in Brooklyn Park ($200,000) and of the Community Health Center in Parole ($250,000); asbestos abatement at Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts in Annapolis ($300,000); and repairs to the building that houses several of the county's social service programs, also in Annapolis ($200,000).

Democratic Del. Mary Ann Love of Glen Burnie, chairwoman of the county House delegation, said she was pleased by those items, but acknowledged that the county did not get all it sought.

It lost a bid for $500,000 that would have provided housing for visiting scientists and post-doctoral students at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center in Edgewater.

It was disappointed also that the legislature could not find $300,000 to help a nonprofit organization build a more impressive monument at Annapolis' City Dock to commemorate Kunta Kinte and his descendant, "Roots" author Alex Haley. The site where Kunta Kinte was brought by slave ship from Africa more than 230 years ago is now labeled by a modest plaque. A larger monument would provide more visible and sufficient recognition of history to the state capital's many visitors as well as a symbol of racial reconciliation.

The county must wait until the state doles out school construction money next month to learn how well it really did. With aging schools whose repairs have been estimated at a whopping $417 million, Anne Arundel is counting on state construction money in a big way. Unfortunately, the county tax cap restricts the amount of money available to meet matching requirements for the state aid.

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