Glendening announces $1.4 million for downtown work

March 24, 1998|By GUY FLETCHER

Glendening announces $1.4 million for downtown work

Maryland Gov. Parris N. Glendening formally announced Monday the state would spend nearly $1.4 million on street improvements in downtown Hagerstown.

New sidewalks, resurfaced streets, landscaping and other projects will be part of the work, which is scheduled to start in spring of next year and be completed by the following fall.

"If we want to see the downtown areas thrive, than the state must be willing to say, 'That is where our focus is going to be,'" Glendening said during an afternoon ceremony at Public Square.


The announcement was applauded by local business people and elected officials.

"He's a guy who really puts his money where his mouth is," said City Councilman Lewis C. Metzner.

Most of the state money will be spent along Franklin and Washington streets, from Cannon Avenue to North Potomac Street. The $1 million project includes new sidewalks, new curbs, improved drainage, brick crosswalks, landscaping and resurfacing streets.

During that same period, the state will spend $120,000 for additional sidewalk work in other parts of downtown.

The state is currently contributing $250,000 toward the $455,000 project to improve Public Square with new brick patios, planters and benches. Work is expected to be completed next month.

The state has committed a total of $4.6 million to downtown Hagerstown revitalization projects, according to the state Department of Transportation.

Glendening said the spending fits perfectly with his "smart growth" initiatives that aim to curb urban sprawl by directing public dollars into cities, towns and other areas already served by roads, schools and other government services.

"What we have said is we are going to make our investment ... in the long-established, existing communities," he said.

Before making the announcement, Glendening took a brief tour of a section of downtown, starting with a visit of McClure's Piano Shop, owned by City Councilman J. Wallace McClure, who greeted the governor by playing "Maryland, My Maryland" on a harpsichord.

Glendening also greeted some other downtown shop owners, pedestrians and city employees and posed for photographs. Several union members spoke with Glendening to reaffirm their support of the Democrat in the upcoming gubernatorial race.

Joining him on the tour were Metzner, state Transportation Secretary David L. Winstead, County Commissioner Ronald L. Bowers and former Mayor Steven T. Sager.

After Glendening visited Bikle's Ski Shop, owner Bill Bikle said it was a thrill to have the governor in his store.

"That's pretty nice. That's the first time that ever happened," Bikle said.

The Herald-Mail Articles