Stockton, CA* here we come!
Note to readers: If you are a reader from somewhere else in Maryland or an adjoining state, this story should still be instructive!
Those Republican spendaholics running the Washington County government have had a rough week. Last Thursday evening they got an earful about their pie-in-the-sky rail trail plan, here, and on Wednesday evening county seniors expressed their frustration at a meeting of seniors on the much ballyhooed senior center for Hagerstown.
Here is the story this morning:
Nearly 100 senior citizens turned out Wednesday to hear about the future of a proposed senior citizen center that officials hope to build on the Hagerstown Community College Campus within the next few years.
“We don’t have adequate room to grow,” Lo [community educator for the Washington County Commission on Aging] said, noting Washington County is the only county in Maryland without a permanent senior center.
She said the senior population in Washington County already exceeds the population of school-age children in kindergarten through the 12th grade, and the number of seniors is expected to grow from 30,000 to more than 38,300, or roughly 30 percent, in the next eight years. [Those stats alone should give budget planners a severe headache—aging population=shrinking tax base—ed]
Scaled back to only $6 million!
The construction of a new senior center has been debated for the past several years.
The original blueprint called for the construction of a two-story building, but the $8 million cost far exceeded the $6 million budget, Washington County Public Works Director Joe Kroboth** said last month.
As a result, the Washington County Board of Commissioners ordered that the project be redesigned, Kroboth said. The new concept reduced the size of the building from two stories to one.
That still doesn’t silence critics who have more sense then the elected officials.
Senior citizen: “Maybe I should run for County Commissioner.”
“I thought the presentation was great. I just don’t approve of it being built at HCC,” 59-year-old Hagerstown resident Josette Carpegna said after the meeting. “I worked at HCC, and traffic is terrible at certain parts of the day. I won’t use it myself.”
Carpegna and Hagerstown resident Roseanne Grimm said they believed the county commissioners should have used one of the many vacant buildings in the city or the surrounding area.
“A lot of empty buildings could have been used,” said Roseanne Grimm, 72. “We would have had a center by now.”
A woman who declined to give her name said the commissioners should have put the senior center at the former Giant Eagle supermarket on the north end of Hagerstown.
“I’m going to be dead by the time they get it done,” she said. “Maybe I should run for county commissioner.”
Someone! Get that woman’s name!
* Stockton CA a city with big dreams (from CBS News) won’t be the only city to go bankrupt:
Stockton was a city with big dreams.
In the mid 2000s, it overhauled its marina, built new parking garages, bought a new city hall, and put up a new arena.
The housing market was on fire, and tax revenues were pouring in, so the city took out $190 million in bonds and loans to pay for the projects.
** Here is an idea to save money! Put all of the monument and pyramid builders, the planners and city/county engineers, on sabbatical for a couple of years!