Officials in both Prince George's and Prince William counties have expressed interest in attracting the Marriott Corporation's planned "Great America" theme park, rejected earlier this week in Howard County.
Officials of Prince George's and Prince William say they believe that Marriott's proposed $75 million 500-acre amusement park could benefit their taxpayers.
Prince George's County Executive Winfield M. Kelly Jr. said yesterday Marriott, which has been trying for five years to build a theme park somewhere in the Washington area, plans to re-evaluate its plans and may build in a different part of the Eastern Seaboard.
Kelly learned of the plan to re-evaluate the proposal during last Sunday's Washington Redskins football game at Robert F. Kennedy Stadium, where he and Marriott vice president Michael Hostage met for a "purely social" outing, according to John Lally, Kelly's spokesman.
"Kelly did not hear anything definite, but he does know there will be no immediate proposal from Marriott forthcoming," said Lally.
Marriott spokesman Stephen A. West, who said he had not talked to Hostage about moving the theme park out of the area, said Prince George's, Prince William and Anne Arundel counties still were viable alternatives for the proposed theme park.
West said the Marriott Corp. was "still trying to see where we stand with Howard County" before looking elsewhere.
The Howard County Zoning Board's decision Monday rejecting Marriott's proposal was based on environmental, traffic and esthetic grounds. A previous plan to build the park in Howard County had been rejected five years ago.
Last March a Marriott proposal to build its entertainment park near Manassas in Prince William County was tied up by court challenges from local citizen groups. Prince William officials have maintained their interest.
In both Prince William and Prince George's, officials say they would be "very receptive" to a new Marriott proposal, although they say they have made no "overt" contact with the firm.
In Prince George's, officials say they have been reluctant to make recent overtures to Marriott because the company was negotiating with Howard County. "We wouldn't want to have to say anything bad about Howard County," said Lally.
Alice E. Humphries chairwoman of the Prince William County Board of Supervisors, said her county has not talked directly to Marriott officials because "it is more beneficial to our county residents if Marriott comes to us first." She said that under newly changed zoning regulations Marriott could be held to promises it made in its zoning aplications.
In Prince George's, Lally said county taxpayers could receive as much as $3 million in revenue through an amusement tax on admissions to a theme park. He said the county levies a 10 per cent tax on the profits of amusement-related industries.
In Prince William, there is no amusement tax and county officials said that is one more reason why the amusement park should be constructed there.
Officials in both Prince William and Prince George's said any Marriott proposal would have to be carefully evaluated to make sure that it would no adversely effect the people who would live near it.
The Marriott spokesman said it could take a year or more to decide on a new location for the park.