Having a developer deal “signed, sealed and delivered” should be the only way the Allegany County Delegation to Annapolis agrees to push for money for the Footer Dye Works building.
The four-story building has long been in a state of deterioration and should only be restored if there is a guaranteed use for it.
The delegation was asked to meet with Canal Place leaders Tuesday. During the meeting, the legislators were asked to seek up to $2 million of state money to stabilize and repair the structure. As Delegate LeRoy Myers Jr. pointed, restoring the building without a commitment for its use is tantamount to spending $2 million for a “restored shell.”
There are plenty of needs in Allegany County for state funding. Delegate Kevin Kelly said the priority for state funds should be Allegany High School. He emphasized the need to have a potential developer for the Footer building on board and willing to make a commitment before the state funds are requested.
“We’re a small delegation, you don’t want to go down there burning favors for a project without a written commitment,” Kelly said of the Canal Place request for General Assembly funding.
Time is running out for the Footer building. As was pointed out during the meeting, the building is not now secure and is invaded by pigeons and an occasional vagrant. Nevertheless, that is not justification for going full-bore ahead with a funding request when there is no guarantee there will ever be a developer for the project.