Glendening won't attend opening

The exterior and marquee of the restored Hippodrome Theatre, which opens tomorrow.
Former Maryland Gov. Parris N. Glendening said today that he will not be attending Tuesday night's gala opening of the Hippodrome Theater at the France-Merrick Performing Arts Center.

"I wasn't invited," said Glendening, now president of the Smart Growth Leadership Institute in Washington. "I'm sure it was an oversight."

The gala, which includes the opening night performance of the Mel Brooks musical The Producers, is being organized by the Hippodrome Foundation Inc., the quasi-public entity that manages the theater. A foundation spokeswoman did not immediately return a telephone call seeking comment.

"I will be there as a private patron in the near future," Glendening said.

The Democratic governor, who left office last year after a 30-year career in politics, included a $1.7 million request from the Greater Baltimore Committee to get the $63 million Hippodrome project started in 1998. He included the request in his capital budget plan presented to the Maryland General Assembly.

The move came after Glendening toured the dilapidated vaudeville house and movie theater with a number of local legislators, as well as business and civic leaders.

The General Assembly approved the request, the first of three years' worth of appropriations totaling $16.5 million.

The Smart Growth Leadership Institute is affiliated with Smart Growth America, a D.C.-based coalition of national planning and environmental groups. It seeks to educate political leaders on the value of programs and policies to curb sprawl.