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Private donors bolster ag museum project

October 15, 1997

By STEVEN T. DENNIS

Staff Writer

Plans to start building a Washington County Rural Heritage Museum at the county Agricultural Education Center next spring received a boost Tuesday with $40,000 in private donations.

AC&T president and owner Adna Fulton and his wife Barbara presented the center with a check for $25,000.

Fulton said he always has been involved in agriculture and said he was happy to help in a great project.

Also, Purina Mills Inc. Vice President John Zerbe pledged $15,000 to the museum effort.

"We're a part of Washington County now and we want to participate in agricultural education in Washington County," Zerbe said. Purina recently opened a new mill on Hopewell Road.

"We're extremely pleased to be here. We don't think we could have picked a better place to locate our newest plant than right here in Hagerstown and Washington County," he said.

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County Commissioners President Gregory I. Snook praised the Fultons and Purina for stepping forward. "There are businesses making contributions to this community," he said.

In all, the ag center has received $157,000 in cash and pledges towards matching a $350,000 state grant for the museum, said Richard Schukraft, chairman of the fund-raising committee.

Construction of the museum, which would be visible from Sharpsburg Pike on the ag center grounds, should start in the spring and be complete by next September, said Pete Callas, chairman of the center's museum committee.

"It is very important to preserve the rich rural heritage of Washington County and there is no better way to do that than through the museum that will be located here," Callas said.

Washington County Farm Queen Kelley Beckley said without people like the Fultons and Purina, the ag center never would have been built.

The ag center started in 1995 with funding from Maryland's Program Open Space program and is located about six miles south of Hagerstown.

In addition to the museum, plans for the site include a petting zoo, picnic pavilions, riding trails, show barns, and an office complex for state agriculture-related agencies.

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