Arundel delegate says bill doesn't harm park effort

Crownsville veterans home focus of Boschert measure

February 03, 2005|By Phillip McGowan | Phillip McGowan,SUN STAFF

A proposal to study converting a portion of the former Crownsville Hospital Center into a state veterans home would not hurt Anne Arundel County's efforts to secure some of the land for a park, the bill's sponsor told legislators yesterday.

"I'm not worried about the property; I'm worried about [what happens to] the facilities, the brick and mortar," state Del. David G. Boschert, a Crownsville Republican, told the Health and Government Operations Committee.

Boschert introduced a bill that would create a task force to study whether buildings from the old state psychiatric hospital could be used for a second Maryland residence for veterans, along with an outpatient center.

FOR THE RECORD - An article in yesterday's edition incorrectly reported a statement by Anne Arundel County official Kevin O'Keeffe about the former Crownsville Hospital Center site. O'Keeffe said the county is working with the state to determine the environmental condition of the portion of the site that contains the hospital and other buildings. The Sun regrets the error.

The bill proposes to halt the planned transfer of some land and facilities on the 1,200-acre campus from the state to Anne Arundel County until after the task force completes a six-month study by Dec. 31.

In November, County Executive Janet S. Owens wrote Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. that the county plans to acquire a 559-acre portion of the campus - the section west of Interstate 97 - for a proposed greenway network.

Aides to Owens said they are taking a wait-and-see approach regarding the bill. The county is working with the state to determine the environmental condition of the 559 acres, and the potential costs involved in turning the tract into a park, said Kevin O'Keefe, a government relations officer for the county.

No vote was taken at yesterday's committee hearing.

If the measure were to become law, a representative of the county would be named to the 12-member task force.

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