City bond hearing set

November 19, 1996


Staff Writer

Hagerstown residents will have a chance today to comment on the city's plans for a $3.9 million bond issue, and on whether proceeds should be used for construction of an ice rink at Hagerstown Fairgrounds, downtown parking improvements and construction of a filtration plant for the Edgemont Reservoir.

A public hearing on the matter will be held at the 7 p.m. regular meeting of the mayor and City Council.

Council members plan to vote afterward on the bond issue.

The hearing is required because of plans to use $1.2 million of the bond money to build an ice rink to be operated by a nonprofit group.


Washington County Sports Foundation would operate the rink and reimburse the city for the $1.2 million through rent payments over 20 years, said City Finance Director Al Martin. The foundation plans to raise $500,000 toward construction of the rink.

Any city residents who oppose the bond issue have until Dec. 5 to petition city officials for a referendum vote, Martin said.

Council members have not yet approved a formal agreement with the sports foundation for construction of the ice rink, City Administrator Bruce Zimmerman said. That could happen on Dec. 17, he said.

If council members decide not to build the ice rink, the $1.2 million proposed for that project would go toward construction of a filtration plant for the Edgemont Reservoir, officials have said.

Council members plan to vote Tuesday on an agreement in principle to buy the fairgrounds from the Hagerstown-Washington County Industrial Foundation, known as CHIEF, with a stipulation that the city gets the roughly $1.3 million for the purchase from the Maryland Program Open Space program, officials said.

The council also might vote Tuesday on a location for the rink. A proposal calls for it to be located on the northern section of the stables area of the fairgrounds near Security Road, Zimmerman said.

City officials also will discuss plans to host a series of meetings with city residents, fairgrounds neighbors and potential users of the fairgrounds to develop an overall plan for the 68 acres, Zimmerman said.

According to Martin, other projects to be funded by the bond include:

  • Construction of a filtration plant for the Edgemont Reservoir. About $1.8 million would be used for the plant. The project would require additional bond money next year, even if funds are not used for the ice rink.
  • Expansion of the North Potomac Street parking lot. About $750,000 would go for improvements to the parking lot and for purchasing property from CHIEF.
  • Reimbursement of $125,000 to the general fund for buying property across from the Public Works Department at South Potomac Street and Memorial Boulevard from Community Rescue Service.

The cost of issuing the bond will be about $75,000, Martin said.

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