Yingling’s Letter To Governor

March 9, 1967

Dear Governor Agnew:

Last Wednesday, March 1st, Senator Smelser told me he had just received information that Carroll County, Sykesville area, was being considered for a maximum security prison. He also informed me that a meeting was being called for 4 p.m. which the Legislators from Carroll County, the County commissioners and some leaders from Sykesville were asked to attend.

At the meeting, which was also attended by several State Department Heads and a representative from your office, we were told that several areas were being considered and that the Sykesville area was the first choice of a sub-committee headed by Senator Bishop. Senator Snyder who as you know is Chief of the Prison Committee asked our feeling on this matter.

It was the consensus of all concerned from Carroll County that we did not have time to form an opinion and that we would have to habe all the facts. We also indicated that water and sewage was a problem in this area and how would this affect the community? We further agreed that our prime consideration was the feeling of the residents in this area.

Senator Snyder suggested that we meet again on Friday at which time we would be presented with all the facts. It was further agreed that a press release would go out Friday indicating that the Sykesville area was the first choice of the committee headed by Senator Bishop. We were also told by Senator Snyder that if too much objection was raised by the residents in the area they would abandon Sykesville and go to another location. We were assured at our suggestion that a public meeting would be held the week of March 6 to explain the facts to the people and get their feeling. It was also suggested that they go to the Rotary meeting and discuss it with the members since many of the leading businessmen of the area belong to Rotary.

On Thursday I received a call from one of our local papers asking me for a story. I told them I had no comment and I didn’t realize there was a story yet, since I had just learned about it Wednesday and we were waiting till Friday to get the facts.

It seems somebody violated a confidence and couldn’t wait 36 hours to get the facts. I have since learned that there were rumors going around the Sykesville area several weeks ago.

Several people assumed I knew of this in advance, but the fact is I was not aware of this information until Wednesday, March 1st.

As a result of the press release, which appeared Saturday morning in the paper, I have receive calls all day Saturday and Sunday from responsible people in the Sykesville area voicing objections to the prison being placed there. They not only objected verbally but plan to fight with every legal means available to them. I feel my first obligation is to the people of the Freedom area whom I represent. In view of the strong public feeling that has already been manifested to me, I respectfully request that you take no further action on this proposal until full public discussions are held and all possible information for and against this site has developed.

March 6, 1967
Jacob M. Yingling,
Carroll County

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