The downtown hotel boondoggle is being promoted again behind closed doors in an unannounced meeting to which none of the public, no press, and no elected representatives are invited. Called a ‘Consulting Parties Meeting’ it was organized by the state Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) which has given grants of $850,000 of taxpayer money to this scandal-ridden project.
The meeting scheduled for tomorrow (Wed Oct 18) at the Delaplaine Center on S Carroll St is organized and chaired by DHCD’s downtown Frederick hotel project manager Melissa Archer.
The agenda shows that the meeting is to begin with a rehash of the project propaganda at the Historic Preservation Commission with presentations featuring Plamondon consultants from Kann Partners and Peter Fillat Architects, City historic preservation staffer Lisa Murphy, and City DED director Richard Griffin.
That apparently consumes most of the morning.
Then the agenda provides for discussion of ‘Adverse Effects’ of demolition of the Birely Tannery and construction of the hotel, then ‘Brainstorm Minimization/Mitigation Strategies’ followed by discussion of ’Next Steps’ with ‘Project Timeline.’ (see below)
Groups we know were invited to the closed door meeting include the Frederick Preservation Trust, the Archeological Conservancy, and Friends of Frederick County.
Melissa Archer told me in a telephone interview this morning that the meeting was closed to enable the participants to speak candidly and have no fear of “being misrepresented.” Archer said the Maryland Historical Trust (MHT) does not have the power to halt demolition of the Birely Tannery and she characterized it as merely a ‘consulting party’ to the DHCD process.
She said the DHCD does no public consultation in cases of this kind.
I asked to attend either as a participant or to report on it. Archer said it is a By Invitation Only meeting and closed to the public and the press. I was not on the invitation list which was apparently negotiated by the DHCD and the City. MHT had given me ‘Consulting Party’ status because of many inquiries and comments I made to them on the project, but that does not count with DHCD.
see agenda below
Contact on the meeting at DHCD is:
Melissa Archer firstname.lastname@example.org tel 410-209-5820