Citizens group pushes ideas for Public Square

November 11, 1996


Staff Writer

Creating more room for pedestrians to stroll, keeping several pear trees and possibly replacing the brick design are among ideas a citizens group has proposed for renovating Public Square.

Hagerstown's mayor and City Council earlier this year asked the group to come up with an alternative to a plan developed by the Hagerstown-Washington County Chamber of Commerce's consultant.

Consultant Cy Paumier's plan came under fire from some local garden enthusiasts in April after they learned it called for pear trees to be torn out and replaced them with trees with leaves that are less dense.


Andy Singer, spokesman for the group that came up with "Plan B" for the square, said the group came up with two alternatives. One is within the city's $350,000 budget, and one goes a step farther, said Singer, chairman of the Downtown Develo pment Association.

The difference between the two is a new brickwork design for the entire square at the intersection of Potomac and Washington streets. The work would increase the cost of the project by $200,000, Singer said.

The square's entire southeast corner would require new brick work under any of the proposed plans. Stairs will be ripped out and other areas will require patching, city officials said.

It will be difficult to find brick that matches that now in the square, said City Engineer Bruce Johnston.

"We want to make Public Square for the people," said Pat Strachan, an Antietam Garden Club member who served on the group.

Paumier's plan would place large planters in each quadrant of the square. The citizens group proposed that smaller planters face the intersection at each corner, making available more room for people to walk, Strachan said.

The two new alternatives also keep several large pear trees, Strachan said. Some pear trees that are too close together or not in good shape would be removed, she said.

Under each of the two new plans, small stages would be built in the southwest and northeast quadrants for special events.

The mayor and City Council will decide which plan they prefer for Public Square.

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