ANNAPOLIS — Maryland's Department of Transportation will study expanding MARC train service into Western Maryland under a new law the General Assembly passed last month.
The study is the result of a years-long effort by transit advocates in the state's western region, including Sen. Paul Corderman, R-Washington, who sponsored a bill requiring the evaluation and ultimately got it passed as part of another piece of legislation.
The legislation requires MDOT to explore three potential routes for expanding commuter rail access through Western Maryland. The routes would branch off the Brunswick line, which currently takes commuters to Frederick and into West Virginia, but does not extend into Washington County or further west.
Corderman said he hopes the study will be the first of several steps to bring commuter rail to Western Maryland.
"We want to get this train moving, and you've got to start with a study," he said.
The study was included as part of a larger transit bill that is still awaiting a signature from Gov. Larry Hogan. The bill requires MDOT to wrap up the study of a MARC expansion by 2023.
MDOT must also work with several "stakeholders" interested in commuter rail service, including the city of Hagerstown, the Washington and Allegany county boards of county commissioners, the city of Cumberland and the town of Hancock.
"We have a lot of folks that travel from Western Maryland to the D.C. Metro area, as well as the Baltimore area, for jobs," Corderman said. "We would love to have more job opportunities in Western Maryland and we will continue to fight and advocate for those, but at the same time we want to make sure there is accessibility to job opportunities throughout the state."
The study will also include a cost analysis and will consider whether existing rail infrastructure could be used in an expansion, or whether additional construction would be needed.
The results of the Western Maryland MARC study will be incorporated into MDOT's Statewide Transit Plan, which is expected to provide a 50-year outlook at transit in Maryland.
Corderman first proposed a legislative mandate for a study last year. His bill passed in the House, but did not make it out of the Senate during the pandemic-shortened 2020 session.
A legislative analysis suggested that the study could cost about $2 million over the next two years, but Corderman said the department previously advised that it would cost significantly less.
A message left with MDOT was not returned Monday.
Madeleine O'Neill covers the Maryland State House and state issues for the USA Today Network. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @maddioneill
ANNAPOLIS — Hagerstown is one signature away from starting a nearly $60 million process for a new multipurpose sports facility.
On Monday, a bill that would allow the Maryland Stadium Authority to serve as project manager for a new facility proposed for Baltimore Street and Summit Avenue cleared its last hurdle in the Maryland General Assembly. The authority can also issue up to $59.5 million in bonds to finance the acquisition, design, construction and related construction expenses.
The bill will now been sent to Gov. Larry Hogan to sign.
Hogan put $8.5 million toward the effort in the most recent supplemental budget, and the General Assembly has earmarked an additional $1.5 million in the recently passed Capital Budget, according to a news release from the Hagerstown/Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau, known as Visit Hagerstown.
Unlike previous proposals, the project would not be partially funded by the city.
State Sens. Paul Corderman, R-Washington, and George Edwards, R-Washington/Allegany/Garrett, sponsored the bill, which the Maryland Senate passed 44-0 on March 19. The House of Delegates passed the bill 131-5 on its third reading on Friday, April 9.The Senate passed the bill with House amendments Monday, 46-0.
Visit Hagerstown President Dan Spedden said he could "hardly contain himself" at the bill's passing, especially with only five total votes against.
"In this world with partisan politics so rancid, how are there only five opposition votes for a bill? It's been a great idea all along and the state agrees and supports it," he said.
Spedden said the project has received "so much support" over the years, and he praised the tenacity of those who never gave up.
He also noted the timing, saying that as the COVID-19 pandemic appears to be winding down, having a large tourism infrastructure project in the works in downtown Hagerstown is a "big beacon of hope" that will "pay dividends for years to come."
Spedden also thanked Corderman, who he said was handed some data and support from the city and "pushed the bill through the session" to the end.
"This facility will provide significant economic development opportunities and revitalization in an area of our community where it is desperately needed," Corderman said in a text message Monday. "This will provide the investor confidence needed to create the massive economic development initiatives that we have seen in other similarly situated communities. This project has the ability to serve as the anchor to a much larger effort to include multiple housing opportunities, neighborhood revitalization, additional infrastructure and job creation."
Once the Maryland Stadium Authority has completed the design and construction process, the Hagerstown-Washington County Industrial Foundation will manage and maintain the facility.
Last year, the Hagerstown Suns, a Class A affiliate of Major League Baseball's Washington Nationals, was among several minor league teams eliminated as the result of a reorganization. The Suns played in city-owned Municipal Stadium.
The Atlantic League of Professional Baseball announced earlier this year that it had granted conditional approval for a new member team in Hagerstown, subject to several terms, including constructing a facility that meets or exceeds the league's standards and with the capability to host other sports and entertainment events.
Howard "Blackie" Bowen, CEO and chairman of the board of Ewing Oil Co., would lead the team's ownership group.
"I'm very excited for the opportunity to bring a locally owned, Atlantic League expansion team to Hagerstown," Bowen said in a news release from Visit Hagerstown. "In addition to being a home for this elite professional baseball league, we look forward to using the Hagerstown Multi-Use Sports & Events Facility to host hundreds of other family friendly events each year. The facility will serve as a community gathering place for decades to come, while acting as a catalyst for new investment in the area."
Corderman said previously the facility could also host movie nights, fireworks and other events, and bring more people through the city's downtown to support other businesses in that area.
Hagerstown City Councilman Kristin Aleshire said the approval was "great" for the group and will allow the party the opportunity to go out and privately secure a property. He said the city has made it clear that the venture will be treated like any other private development built in the city.
Hagerstown Mayor Emily Keller said the cost of a new stadium has prohibited progress for a long time, with the "mindset it can't fall on the taxpayer."
"I applaud the creative solution to fund the project," she said, adding she was glad to have Bowen at the helm of the local ownership to "provide the best path forward we have ever had. It's comforting that someone who cares about Hagerstown is the driving force."
Keller said anything that spurs economic development locally is a win.
Maryland State House and USA Today Network reporter Madeleine O'Neill contributed to this story.
Washington County state lawmakers are working to deem designated visitors as "essential caregivers" for patients in nursing homes.
Patients in long-term care facilities were hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, and the bill would not throw open nursing home doors to all visitors. It would allow a patient to designate an "essential caregiver" who could visit with, help attend to and advocate for the resident.
"They are absolutely essential to our residents' mental health, which in turn will help their overall health," Julia McGlaughlin-Wiles, executive director of clinical services at Fahrney Keedy Home and Village, said in an interview Friday.
The essential caregiver would have to follow COVID-19 safety measures as stipulated by the facility.
"I feel like we can make this happen because we have the tools that we need now," she said, including personal protective equipment and more knowledge about how to keep the disease from spreading.
She testified in favor of the bill Thursday during a Zoom meeting of the Senate Finance Committee.
"It's been almost a year since COVID started and we've been locked down. ...These people are suffering. They need their loved ones," she said in Friday's interview.
Residents are largely alone, she said. Group activities and communal meals are not being held because of concerns about the disease. Residents visit relatives by looking through windows or at digital tablets.
Sen. Paul Corderman, R-Washington, said a local resident came to him with the concern, which led the lawmaker to sponsor the bill. A companion measure, sponsored by Del. Karen Lewis Young, D-Frederick, is heading to a committee hearing in the House.
Corderman and other lawmakers who represent Washington County discussed the measure Thursday night during a virtual meeting of the county's delegation.
"It's a very good bill," said Del. Neil Parrott, R-Washington.
Parrott said he plans to introduce a similar measure that would apply only to Washington County in case the statewide effort falters.
In general, the bill would allow a resident of a long-term care facility to designate an essential caregiver to advocate and provide personalized care for the resident. Each facility could set up policies and procedures that the essential caregiver must follow. And the facility could revoke or restrict the caregiver's status if necessary.
The bill also touches on some details, such as having schedules that take into account the number of people in the building, and prohibiting an essential caregiver from visiting if the patient or resident is quarantined.
In an interview Friday, Corderman said one of the concerns is having the bill's provisions mesh appropriately with other laws about states of emergency.
"We understand why (the facilities) were closed" during the early stages of the pandemic, Corderman said.
McGlaughlin-Wiles said she acknowledges concerns some might have about spreading the disease. During the worst of an outbreak at Fahrney Keedy, COVID-19 claimed the lives of 11 residents.
At the same time, she said, others also are suffering from depression, weight loss and related issues because of the isolation they're experiencing.
She believes the bill is needed even as the nation looks to roll out vaccines to the general public in the next several months.
"I say, why wait? How can we take any more time from them?" she said.
McGlaughlin-Wiles and Corderman also believe the thrust of the bill could be useful after COVID-19, because other emergencies are bound to happen.
"Nobody expected it in the past," Corderman said, "and we don't know what's going to happen in the future."
Paul Corderman on Tuesday was sworn in to succeed former state Sen. Andrew Serafini.
Senate President Bill Ferguson administered the oath to Corderman, R-Washington, during a ceremony in the State House. Also in the photograph is Corderman's wife, Kerri, and their daughter, Sammi.
Serafini resigned from his seat earlier in the summer. Corderman previously represented Washington County in the House of Delegates in the District 2B and applied for Serafini's seat. The Washington County Republican Central Committee nominated Corderman to the position and Gov. Larry Hogan appointed Corderman to Serafini's seat. Tuesday was also Corderman's 43rd birthday.
The Washington County Republican Central Committee on Tuesday said the deadline for people wishing to apply for the District 2B house seat is Sept. 10. All applications must be received electronically through email at email@example.com, according to a news release from the committee.
Application instructions and forms can be found on the committee's websiteat www.wcmdgop.com. Click on the Legislative Application button.
— Dave McMillion
Gov. Larry Hogan announced Thursday that he's appointed Del. Paul Corderman to the Senate seat left vacant earlier this summer after Sen. Andrew Serafini resigned.
“I am confident that Delegate Corderman will continue to be a strong advocate for constituents in Washington County in his new role as state senator,” Hogan said in a prepared statement. “I offer him my sincere congratulations, and will continue to work with him to change Maryland for the better.”
"I'm very appreciative of Gov. Hogan confirming the nomination," said Corderman, adding that he's looking forward to representing the county in the Maryland Senate.
Corderman, R-Washington, said a date for his swearing-in hadn't been set yet. He will have to resign his seat as a state delegate before being sworn in.
The Senate seat for District 2 includes eastern and southern Washington County.
ANNAPOLIS — Gov. Larry Hogan appointed Hagerstown City Councilman Paul D. Corderman to the Maryland General Assembly on Tuesday.
Corderman was recommended last week by the Washington County Republican Central Committee to replace Judge Brett Wilson in the House of Delegates. Hogan appointed Wilson to the Circuit Court for Washington County last month.
“Paul has served his constituents well as a councilman for the City of Hagerstown,” Hogan said in a statement. “I am confident he will continue to work hard for the people of his district as a member of the General Assembly.”
Corderman will represent legislative District 2B, which roughly follows Hagerstown's boundaries.
He was elected to his first term on the city council last year, and has served on the Design Committee for Main Street Hagerstown.
Corderman, a lifelong resident of Washington County, is a graduate of the University of Maryland, College Park.
The central committee chose Corderman on Thursday from among three applicants to fill the vacancy.
Among the other two finalists was Laura Spessard Herrera, a vice president and financial adviser at the Hershey-Fitzsimmons Group, RBC Wealth Management and an at-large board member of the Hagerstown-Washington County Chamber of Commerce.
The other finalist was Hagerstown Tea Party President Donald "Donny" Ravas, who is chief executive officer of Dell Transport courier service.
Corderman said Tuesday that his appointment marks "a new commitment" for both Hagerstown and his family, and said he is excited about serving in Annapolis.
"I know the challenges the city is facing, and I look forward to working on the state level to meet them," he said.
Corderman said he plans to meet soon with other members of the county's delegation to the General Assembly to discuss the county's priorities in the upcoming legislative session. The 2018 session begins Jan. 10.
Corderman's pending departure from city government will leave a new vacancy on the Hagerstown City Council.
The council last week appointed Hagerstown businesswoman Shelley McIntire to fill the seat vacated by Councilman Donald F. Munson, who resigned in November.
McIntire is scheduled to take office Tuesday.
HAGERSTOWN, Md - If you're in Hagerstown, chances are you may have seen Paul Corderman. Corderman has served on the Hagerstown Council for the last year and is a Hub City native. He was recently selected to the Maryland House of Delegates and says he is humbled to have that opportunity.
“As far as this opportunity for myself, I couldn't be more excited about it. Incredibly humbled by it as well, but extremely grateful to have this opportunity,” said Corderman.
Coming to the City Council, Corderman has stressed three things, which are public safety, fiscal responsibility and growth and development. Corderman says he has seen success in all those areas, especially public safety.
“I'm proud to say for the first time in many years, our fire department has been made whole. Police department we got a five-year contract extension with them, so public safety remains first and foremost a priority in the City of Hagerstown. I’m very proud of that accomplishment,” said Corderman.
Corderman will represent District 2B in the upcoming general assembly. He says he wants to continue the work he started while serving on the city council.
“When we go down to Annapolis we want to be able to work together, to not only do what's best for the City of Hagerstown, but what's best for the state of Maryland, to not only move the city forward, but the state forward as well,” said Corderman.
And Corderman is taking over right after former Delegate Brett Wilson was sworn in to be a judge. He says he has talked to Judge Wilson to get advice and will be retaining his assistant.
“I'm going to be meeting with her next week to get up to speed, so to speak to see what he had in the works in the last session for what he had going forward,” said Corderman.
Corderman says it's still surreal how everything has played out for him to serve the City of Hagerstown.
“The way this process has taken, I couldn't believe it looking back two years ago, but I’m so excited for the opportunity and really to give back to give the citizens of Hagerstown a voice," said Corderman.
Feature in Herald Mail Media by Carlee Lammers
Lifelong Hagerstown resident and political newcomer Paul D. Corderman said he wants to work with residents to move the city forward.
Corderman, 38, is vying for a spot on the five-member Hagerstown City Council. "There needs to be some changes in this town. Things need to move forward," said Corderman, who works as shop manager at Mace Auto Body in Smithsburg. "There are a lot of things that need to be done to move us forward."
Corderman, a 1995 graduate of North Hagerstown High School and a 2000 graduate of the University of Maryland, said he wants to take a "more collaborative approach" to creating safer neighborhoods, encouraging growth and development, and promoting fiscal responsibility and accountability.
In light of a growing heroin epidemic, Corderman said he believes safety is a "major concern" for the city. He wants to take a collaborative approach to "do whatever it takes to provide a safe environment for all of us."
"We need to attack this thing head-on together to make Hagerstown a better place to live and work," Corderman said.
Encouraging economic growth and development by broadening the tax base, engaging local real-estate agents and embracing the local business community also are high priorities, he said.
Corderman said reducing red tape, and offering additional grants and tax incentives will help further growth and development.
"Gov. (Larry) Hogan has declared Maryland is open for business," he said. "It’s about time that Hagerstown is open for business as well."
Proactively addressing tax shortfalls, setting aside "individual agendas" and holding the city accountable are ways Corderman said he believes Hagerstown could hold the line on taxes and increase fiscal responsibility and accountability.
Corderman said he is calling for the council to "come together to create an economically sound community."
City candidates are running in nonpartisan races this year.
In the April 26 primary, city voters will select 10 council candidates to advance to the general election on Nov. 8.
In addition to Corderman, the candidates include incumbent Councilman Kristin B. Aleshire, Brandon S. Boldyga, Emily Keller, incumbent Councilman Lewis C. Metzner, Dot McDonald-Kline, incumbent Councilman Donald F. Munson, incumbent Councilwoman Penny May Nigh, Colin Ploscaru, Carlos Reyes and Aaron C. Smith.
Council members serve terms of four years, earn $8,000 annually and are eligible for city health benefits.
Paul Corderman, 38, who resides with his wife and daughter in the City of Hagerstown, announced today that he has filed for candidacy for a seat on the Hagerstown City Council. Corderman, the son of former State Senator and Circuit Court Judge John P. Corderman, is a 2000 graduate of the University of Maryland and a 1995 graduate of North Hagerstown High School.
Corderman’s vision as a future member of the Council is to work together with his fellow City residents to create a better quality of life and promote growth and economic development throughout all of Hagerstown. A member of the Main Street Design Work Group, Corderman said he sees the positive impact that enhancing the City Center would have on the town as a whole.
“I believe in not only the potential of the downtown, but also the entire City of Hagerstown,” said Corderman. “We are a viable community, and can create even more sustainability for our economy by working together and building upon the great character and history we already have in place.”
Corderman looks forward to meeting even more of his fellow residents and business owners throughout this campaign and listening to their needs, concerns and hopes for their City.
“As a member of the Hagerstown City Council, my role would be voicing and championing what’s important to the people of our community,” said Corderman. “Together we can create a better Hagerstown.”