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Sager shows off newly-renovated homes, now for sale

June 02, 1997

By KAREN MASTERSON

Staff Writer

Outgoing Hagerstown Mayor Steven T. Sager held a press conference showcasing five newly renovated homes on North Prospect Street and West North Street today, his last day in office.

The homes - previously eight two-bedroom apartment units condemned and slated for demolition - were purchased by the city last year for a total of $45,000.

With more than $359,000 in federal funding, the units have been turned into four four-bedroom homes, plus one two-bedroom home.

They are available for sale to low-income, first-time home buyers for prices ranging from $42,000 to $62,000. Two of the four- bedroom homes are already sold.

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Each house has wall-to-wall carpeting, modern kitchen and bath, and a backyard deck.

Sager said the city's Home Ownership Program, which coordinated the renovations, "puts the city in the real estate business, but the alternative is much worse because these buildings would sit here looking rotten ... (or) be torn down."

Now lower income families will be buying homes that have been refinished from "top to bottom, with new roofs, new furnaces and new plumbing," he said.

He said promoting home ownership is important because the city is way behind the national average. Thirty-eight percent of city residents own their homes, compared to 65 percent nationally.

Had he been re-elected, Sager said, he'd be pushing for 50 percent home ownership in Hagerstown.

That, he said, would require 200 new home sales a year for the next 10 years.

Newly-elected Mayor Robert E. Bruchey II said later today, in a telephone interview, that promoting home ownership is a "wonderful idea," but Sager's goals are unrealistic.

"I'm all for improving home ownership in Hagerstown, but the only downfall would be making sure people feel secure and safe," Bruchey said.

He added that the new homes along North Prospect Street and West North Street are in a bad area where "someone was just shot in the head and left in the street.

"If we can control crime, we'll sell more homes. ...But now, 200 new (home sales) a year is an exaggeration of what's possible."

Anyone interested in buying the homes can telephone city officials at 301-739-8577, extension 136.

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