The Western Maryland delegation has asked the governor to reconsider his decision to cancel further development of the Law Enforcement Training Center in Carroll County.
Gov. Parris N. Glendening scrapped long-standing plans to renovate vacant buildings at Springfield Hospital Center into offices, classrooms and dormitories for the center, saying the project did not match his Smart Growth initiatives to control sprawl.
"While we recognized the importance of your goal in limiting sprawl, construction of the police training facility as planned in Carroll County in no way violates that goal," the delegation wrote to the governor Monday. "On the contrary, it makes excellent use of existing state resources. Your administration has acknowledged that the facility meets the state's guidelines for smart growth."
The state has spent about $20 million on the center, including $10 million for a driver training course that opened in September and a shooting range that will be completed by August.
The governor has given his staff until the end of March to find another location for the academic component of the center. Law enforcement officials have contacted several legislators asking for their support in keeping the center on schedule for a 2002 opening in Sykesville.
"There is overwhelming support emanating from the police community," said Del. Donald B. Elliott, a Republican representing Carroll and Frederick counties. "They are going to their individual delegates saying this is where they expect the center to be."
The delegation wrote, "It is inappropriate to segregate other components of the facility at a separate location."
Scrapping the center is not in keeping with the governor's "One Maryland" theme, which he stressed at his inauguration, said Elliott. Smart Growth is unduly burdening rural counties, he said.
"It is critical that the policy not be used to divide our state and unfairly penalize appropriate development efforts in our rural communities," the delegation wrote.
The Western Maryland delegation includes lawmakers from Carroll, Frederick, Washington, Allegany and Garrett counties.
Pub Date: 2/05/99