ANNAPOLIS -- A 10-page statement prepared by the state Department of Natural Resources that rebuts many arguments against a proposed music pavilion on the Isle of Wight will be mailed this week to supporters and opponents of the project, state officials said.
While natural resources officials said they are undecided about whether to recommend that the Board of Public Works approve the plan to lease 25 acres on the 223-acre island for the 5,000-seat pavilion, the agency's top officials support the proposal.
"We don't see anything that says we definitely can't do it, that tips the scale," said John R. Griffin, the agency's deputy secretary.
While the letter dismisses some of the opposition's arguments as "nonsense," it also concedes that the project "may need some refinement."
Many environmentalists and Worcester County residents objected to the music pavilion proposal at a public hearing last month in Berlin.
The plan is being pushed by Nancy Hackerman, the owner of a film production company in Baltimore, and John T. Wright, president of Pro Image Inc. and manager of the Pier Six Harborlights Music Festival, to create an outdoor amphitheater modeled after the Pier Six Harborlights pavilion in Baltimore.
Wright and Hackerman said they have taken exception to criticism that their estimated $4 million to $5 million project is being aided by Hackerman's family connections.
Hackerman is the daughter of Willard Hackerman, a longtime political supporter of Gov. William Donald Schaefer. Willard Hackerman's Towson-based company, Whiting-Turner Contracting, has been designated as the project's construction manager.
"I'm convinced if my name were Jones much of the hullabaloo concerning this project would not have occurred," Nancy Hackerman said Friday in a meeting with natural resources officials. There have been "insinuations and, at times, accusations of influence peddling. I can categorically state that there has been nothing of the sort."
A new local citizens group, the Isle of Wight Preservation Committee, already is scheduled to meet later this month to plan an antipavilion strategy.
"People want that area maintained as a wooded, open-space area. I plan to continue to fight," said Ilia Fehrer of Snow Hill, chairman of the Worcester Environmental Trust.