State agencies still open to comment on Birely Tannery mitigation plan

“We welcome comments from the consulting parties and it is not too late for comments to be considered by DHCD (state Department of Housing & Community Development) and MHT (Maryland Historical Trust.)” So writes MHT’s Beth Cole, administrator project review and compliance who is coordinating the state historic preservation regulator’s effort to craft a Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) on a Birely Tannery ‘mitigation’ plan with the City. Continue reading

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Mayor challenged to clarify five aspects of hotel deal — letter from 22 citizens

The Honorable Michael O’Connor
Mayor of The City of Frederick
City Hall
Frederick, MD 21701

Dear Mr. O’Connor:
In your inaugural address you spoke of embarking on a “new commitment to civic engagement” and of the need to “restore faith in public institutions.” You have said the city will follow the principles of “open government.” Nowhere is this needed more than in the conduct of the downtown hotel project. Transparency and candor are urgently needed in respect to: Continue reading

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How they deliberately avoided competition in procurements of land and hotel developer

Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL), the City Hotel Advisory Committee’s lead consultant in this procurement, foresaw the land valuation problem mentioned by Andy Stout in the previous report. And they proposed a procedure to avoid that problem, along with a way to get real competitive bids for the hotel development itself. Continue reading

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How will City set price for hotel land and who will bear mitigation cost?

Archeologist Andy Stout raises the troublesome issue of how the City has set the price it pays for the Randalls’ site, and who is bearing the costs of mitigation. In an email to the Mayor, City aldermen, and others, Stout calls for the price of the hotel site to be renegotiated. Continue reading

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Spare us your “symbiotic relationships” — Letter to Editor, Frederick News-Post

Time to halt government funding for ridiculous project

Your editorial published Feb. 4 proclaimed the city’s endless downtown hotel project to be “in a symbiotic relationship” with the historic district. Gawd! Continue reading

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Current state of the City-Maryland Historical Trust MoA “still a deliberative process”

“The MoA negotiation is still a deliberative process amongst the signatories and it is not yet a final document ready for signature.” That’s how City of Frederick/Maryland Historical Trust dealmaking was characterized  Monday afternoon, Feb 12, by Beth Cole, administrator, project review & compliance officer at the Trust.  Continue reading

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Downtown hotel & conference center “will now be privately financed” – a baseless claim

Supporters of the City-sponsored downtown hotel make the misleading claim that public funds — taxpayer money — will only be used for associated ‘public infrastructure’ and that otherwise the project will be privately financed with no call on taxpayers. For example, the latest City ‘One-Pager’ project summary states: Continue reading

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Griffin attempt to rush approval of City-state MoA fails at Mayor & Board

Griffin

Ricard Griffin made a crude move this week to rush through Mayor & Board approval of an incomplete  agreement with state agencies over a ‘mitigation plan’ for demolition of the Birely Tannery building and site. Griffin put his signature to a thoroughly misleading Executive Summary for the Mayor & Board workshop today (Feb 7) which falsely claimed that two state agencies had accepted a draft Memorandum of Agreement (MoA). Continue reading

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“The trick is to never finish the project” — Dilbert following DHCC

Scott Adams’s Dilbert of cartoon fame is obviously following the antics of the downtown Frederick hotel project, famous for predictions of a grand opening always staying about three years away, year after year. CREDIT: Anthony Moscato for spotting the Dilbert. Continue reading

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DHCC: a new look needed by a new Administration

Mayor & Aldermen:  The new City administration should take a thorough and critical look at the management of the downtown hotel and conference center (DHCC) project — a very troubled and troubling project. Eight years ago one of Randy McClement’s earliest acts as mayor was to form the downtown Hotel Advisory Committee (HAC.) The AP Feb 3, 2010: “Frederick Mayor Randy McClement has appointed a local businessman (Mark Gaver) to lead a public-private effort to establish a downtown hotel and conference center.” Mayor McClement said the $45m hotel would open “by 2014.” (Gazette Feb 11, 2010)  Continue reading

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