Commissioners solidify plan for former hospital

Site would be center for drug treatment

January 26, 2001|By Mary Gail Hare | Mary Gail Hare,SUN STAFF

The Carroll commissioners asked their legal staff yesterday to review their request to take ownership of an abandoned state hospital in Marriottsville for use as a residential drug treatment center for heroin addicts.

The initial draft states Carroll would accept the 50-acre property with its 18 decrepit buildings "as is." Previous estimates for lead and asbestos removal in all the structures have exceeded $1 million.

"The letter requesting transfer is the first step before we can go anywhere else," said Larry L. Leitch, director of Carroll County Health Department.

Carroll must show "a serious desire" to take on the restoration of Henryton and hold public hearings here and in Howard County. The site straddles the Carroll-Howard border and overlooks the Patapsco River.

The treatment center would involve two of the hospital buildings; one for a dormitory, the other for counseling and activities. The program would house as many as 24 Carroll residents only for as long as 18 months.

Although Commissioner Julia Walsh Gouge liked the idea of a treatment center, she expressed concerns about renovation costs. Preliminary estimates are about $500,000.

"Where are we going to get the money?" she asked, noting the county hasn't budgeted money for the project.

Commissioner Donald I. Dell said he wanted to get the project moving as fast as possible, but he agreed the county would have to get solid cost estimates on renovation before accepting the deed.

"I think the state would be happy and anxious to give us this property," he said.

"It has a long-term future for a lot of functions we might put there," Dell said.

The state abandoned Henryton, once its hospital for black tuberculosis patients and later a center for the developmentally disabled, nearly 20 years ago.

The property was declared surplus and made available for possible development or other public or private uses nearly 10 years ago.

The decision on Carroll's request to transfer the property will fall to the state Board of Public Works.

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