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City agrees to purchase fairgrounds

January 15, 1997

By JULIE E. GREENE

Staff Writer

Hagerstown City Council members unanimously approved a contract to buy the Hagerstown Fairgrounds from a nonprofit group for $1.35 million on Tuesday night.

The contract to buy the 68.26 acres from Community Center Inc., a subsidiary of the Hagerstown-Washington County Industrial Foundation, should be settled by Jan. 31, said Planning Director Ric Kautz.

The $1.35 million will reimburse the foundation for buying and maintaining the fairgrounds since 1993, when the group bought it to protect green space in the city's core.

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City officials expect to complete payments on the fairgrounds by 2004, although the purchase could be final before then if the Washington County Commissioners have funding available sooner.

The city's general fund will be reimbursed for almost all of the $1.35 million through Program Open Space funds from the state of Maryland and the county. Those funds come from a transfer tax on the sale of property in the state.

City Light will pay $39,660 for two acres it will use for a new electrical substation to enhance service to the eastern section of the city.

Hagerstown officials will hold a public workshop at 7 p.m. on Wednesday night to give county residents an opportunity to offer suggestions for use of the Fairgrounds. That meeting will be held at City Hall in the second-floor Council Chambers.

In addition to the substation and plans for an ice rink to open in mid-August, suggestions for the fairgrounds have included athletic fields, an equestrian center, walking trails, a skateboard rink, a BMX track and activities such as summer concerts.

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