Keyonna Summers, Washington Times, Oct. 8
Gaithersburg officials have canceled plans to build a day-laborer center in the historic downtown following public outcry and Montgomery County’s decision yesterday to pull out of the deal.
“This solves the concerns for this one site,” Mayor Sidney Katz said.
County and city officials reached an agreement last month in which the county would secure a 5-year lease for an empty building in Gaithersburg’s Olde Town section.
However, a letter yesterday from Bruce Romer, the county’s chief administrative officer, stated the county will now offer the space to somebody else or terminate the lease because the city appears to be “backing away from its commitment” to the center.
Many residents have complained for months about the existing situation, in which many of the illegal aliens and other day-laborers engage in such offensive behavior as urinating and drinking in public while waiting for work, at the Grace United Methodist Church, just blocks from the formally proposed site.
However, they were equally upset about church, city and county officials joining in about a dozen meetings without them to resolve the problem.
Mr. Katz attended the meetings, but City Council members also were not invited. Officials said the meetings were open, but have acknowledged mishandling the delicate situation.
(Posted on October 10, 2005)