Navy pledges land deal to proceed as planned


Responding to concerns that they might renege on an agreement made with Anne Arundel County, Navy officials have confirmed that they intend to hand over the former David Taylor Research Center property in the method that was promised, which will finally move forward the delayed conversion of the site to a high-tech business park.

Elaine McNeil, public affairs officer for Naval Facilities Engineering Command in Washington, said Friday that the property transfer is on track.

"There are no second thoughts about the process or the intent to complete this conveyance," McNeil said.

Last week, County Executive Janet S. Owens fired off a letter to Navy officials in Washington warning them that the county would not accept the property if the hand-over plans were changed.

The deal between the Navy and the county required the Navy to convey the 46.5-acre site not in one piece, but in parcels, including leases and deeds for businesses now at the facility, as the county had requested.

Owens learned of a meeting called by Rep. Wayne T. Gilchrest, an Eastern Shore Republican, that included Republican County Councilwoman Cathleen M. Vitale and several top-level Navy officials.

Concerned that political foes might try to derail the project, Owens sent her letter with the hope of striking down last-minute changes.

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