Carroll delegation accepts Pikesville as crime lab site

Too much money spent to change plan, state says

March 11, 2003|By Childs Walker | Childs Walker,SUN STAFF

Officials from the state police told Carroll legislators yesterday that the design of a new crime lab in Pikesville is too far along to consider moving the $23 million project to Sykesville.

Five members of the county's Annapolis delegation met with state police Superintendent Edward T. Norris and other state officials, hoping to persuade them to make the lab part of the $60 million police training center at the former site of the state's Springfield Hospital Center. The lab had been planned as part of that project until 1999, when former Gov. Parris N. Glendening announced he wanted it built in Pikesville.

Carroll legislators, all Republicans, said Glendening made the change to punish them for opposing his Smart Growth policies. Delegation members thought they might coax a different decision from fellow Republican Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. Ehrlich said during his campaign that he wanted the lab in Sykesville but changed his mind after meeting with state police officials, said Joseph M. Getty, the governor's policy director and a former Carroll delegate.

"During the transition, we determined internally that the project was too far along to be transferred from Pikesville to Sykesville," Getty said.

State police officials said the project would be delayed at least a year and would cost at least $2 million more if moved to Sykesville. With $1.9 million spent on designing the site in Pikesville, it is too late to go back, said Bill Ebare, who manages capital projects for the state police.

"We found a site, we designed a building for it and we're ready to go," Ebare told Carroll legislators. "That's the real issue here."

After hearing from Getty and Ebare, Carroll legislators said they were resigned to seeing the project continue in Pikesville.

"I think it's advanced far enough along that there's no turning back," said Sen. Larry E. Haines of Westminster.

"We understand the time sensitivity, and we certainly don't want to interfere," added Del. Susan W. Krebs, who represents the South Carroll district that includes Sykesville. "We just wanted to know if there was any chance at all."

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