Friday, February 04, 2005

First, Do No Harm

As part of its cost-cutting strategy, the State is looking for ways to get rid of the 648-acre Crownsville Hospital campus. The site, which includes nearly 550 acres of land at the headwaters of the South River that could be classified as "open space", also contains 61 buildings which will need extensive asbestos remediation and sewer repairs before they can be re-occupied. The high price tag now has County Executive Owens reconsidering her previous enthusiasm for the site, stating, "Unfortunately, the more we learn about Crownsville, the more we become convinced that a scenario may not exist under which Anne Arundel County could reasonably afford to take control of the property." A fair objection, to be sure (although the County apparently has the funds to buy and maintain Fort Smallwood Park).

Predictably, the development wolves, notably John Pantelides and his minions, are just itching to get their hands on the property. "I still see tremendous opportunities for that property," said Pantelides, his eyes aglow with dollar signs.

It's important that one way or another this land be protected. What's less important, is whether the State or the County is the entity to do it.

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