Hagerstown's Baldwin House, once home to Routzahn's Department Store, is now a rotting hulk in the middle of downtown, an eyesore that it would cost $1 million just to demolish and perhaps 10 times that much to renovate for useable office or living space. Faced with a set of unattractive and expensive choices, we urge the Mayor and Council not to do anything hasty.
One idea being proposed is the relocation of Hagerstown police and fire agencies to the building, on the premise that it would be easier to sell the historic train station where police are located now, and use that money for Baldwin House renovations.
However, the city would need to find another 100 parking places downtown for police. And the fire department, originally moved into the City Market House to provide security for the adjacent parking lot and to keep the building from being vacant between Saturday market sessions, likes its present location.