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CSX willing to pay roundhouse environmental costs

May 21, 1998|By JULIE E. GREENE

A CSX Real Property official told Hagerstown's mayor and City Council on Tuesday that the firm would resolve any environmental problems on the roundhouse property before turning over the land to a government agency.

Hagerstown city officials had said last week they were wary about taking on legal responsibility for the land because of potential environmental problems.

Council members made no decisions about whether or how they would help Hagerstown Roundhouse Museum Inc. save the railroad buildings on the property so they eventually could become a tourist attraction.

"We're going to have to give this careful consideration," said Mayor Robert E. Bruchey II.

CSX has given museum officials a July 3 deadline to come up with $500,000 to buy the property and find a government agency to take on the legal responsibility for any problems that arise on the 40 acres along South Burhans Boulevard.

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If museum officials don't meet the deadline, the buildings on the property would be demolished, including the roundhouse.

Kevin Hurley, director of CSX Real Property, said soil contaminated by oil could be replaced or capped by building a parking lot over it.

Hurley said if museum officials can meet the CSX requests, CSX will apply to the state "Brownfields" program. Under the program, state officials would assess the risks the property poses and set restrictions on how it could be used, he said.

CSX officials have not decided what to do with the 40 acres if the buildings are razed, Hurley said.

Blaine Snyder, the museum's board chairman, said museum officials are exploring five avenues for funding. That includes four private funding sources Snyder would not name and a quasi-governmental agency.

If the Maryland Economic Development Corporation cannot help museum officials, the group can guide them to other funding sources, said Richard Hopkins, a member of the agency's board.

For now, Hurley said he would have the open pits on the property clearly marked to prevent people from getting hurt.

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