Five years ago I said sell Rocky Gap. Seriously. Five years ago.

On Wednesday, it will actually become a reality:

After sinking millions of dollars into the dream of a world-class tourist destination in the mountains of Western Maryland, the state is poised to cut its losses and turn the Rocky Gap hotel and conference center over to a private company that plans to open a casino at the lakeside resort. 

The Board of Public Works is scheduled to vote Wednesday on the final series of agreements needed to complete the transfer of the $54 million complex in Allegany County from the quasi-public Maryland Economic Development Corp. to Evitts Resort LLC, which plans to eventually install 1,000 slot machines at the site. 

The board’s expected approval would mark a new beginning for the resort. It also would mark an end to a state-backed venture that began almost two decades ago as an effort to bring an infusion of economic vitality to a perennially depressed part of Maryland. Instead, the resort near Cumberland has piled up losses year after year as occupancy has lagged.

It’s about time. You know I’m pretty serious about the idea of privatization of government assets, and even more so about keeping government out of the business of competing with private enterprises like hotels and golf courses. So the idea that even the Board of Public Works realizes that Rocky Gap as a state run enterprise is a failure, it gives me some hope for the future. Hope that maybe, just maybe, we can dismantle the Maryland Economic Development Corporation, divest ourselves of such unnecessary state assets, and keep the state of Maryland out of the business of competing with private enterprises.
Of course in the this state one can only dream. But for one glorious day, the state of Maryland is actually doing something right…

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