Pete Plamondon Jr, principal of the Plamondon companies, makes no secret of how long he’s been working with the City’s economic development director Richard Griffin on a ‘partnership’ (read: boondoggle on taxpayers) to build a conference center hotel downtown. At a celebratory event after the legislature had promised $15 million state money on April 13 2016 in the Trolley Building on the Frederick News Post site, Richard Griffin spoke first, then Mayor Randy McClement, then County Executive Jan Gardner. Speaking fourth Pete Plamondon began:
“What a long, strange trip it has been! (laughter) I didn’t coin those words, someone else gave them to me… I’ll never forget like it was yesterday picking up the Frederick News Post, not sure what year it was, but it was announcing the funding of the Interstate 70 interchange project where it was federal dollars and really building the East Street Extension as a means to get into our beautiful city. And I called Richard (Griffin) and I said: ‘This is now the time we can start talking about a downtown hotel.’…
Plamondon said he was not sure what year this was.
A review of Frederick News Post reports of the I-70 interchange funding nails the date pretty definitively as November 17, 2005.
The newspaper featured prominently a visit by Maryland Governor Robert Ehrlich to Frederick to announce $105 million in federal and state funds to fully fund the I-70 Interchange with East Street and also completion of the East Street Extension south to the interchange.
Designs, permitting, and land acquisition had been done over the previous five years. Until Gov Ehrlich’s speech the project’s actual construction was unfunded, and it was almost certainly that splashy announcement that prompted the Now-we-can-start-talking… call to Richard Griffin that represents the origins of the now infamous downtown hotel/conference center scheme.
P Sam 2016.06.29