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Hancock Main Street program ready to bloom

June 17, 1998|By SHEILA HOTCHKIN

Construction crews and rows of orange cones running down the center of Main Street in Hancock soon will give way to thousands of flowers and newly paved streets and sidewalks.

The effort to rehabilitate the half-mile stretch of Main Street between Methodist and Church streets is a part of the Governor's Neighborhood Conservation Program, which put $1.3 million toward the project.

"We could not afford to do it ourselves," said Lou Close, Hancock's town manager.

The project will replace crumbling brick sidewalks with new concrete ones and make walkways in front of the stores accessible to the handicapped, said Rose Muhlhausen, a spokeswoman for the State Highway Administration.

Landscapers will plant thousands of flowers, including periwinkle, yarrow and sedum. The project will add 13 flowering pear trees, 164 holly bushes and 49 junipers, Muhlhausen said.

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The job will take 150 work days, and is tentatively scheduled to end in November, Close said.

The town manager said the project comes at a good time - immediately after the addition of new water lines, work that had portions of Main Street, which is Md. 144, and Pennsylvania Avenue torn up for weeks.

Close said he hopes the new water lines, coupled with the repaving and landscaping, will stave off any major repairs for several decades.

The endeavor has inspired some Main Street business owners.

"It will encourage people to fix up their storefronts, and we're looking forward to that," said Jerry Hendershot, who owns a 37-year-old sporting goods store on Main Street. He said he will renovate his building after the landscaping has been completed.

"We're going to try to blend in with what's already being done," Hendershot said.

The six-month project already has restricted parking along Main Street. That will cause business owners some inconvenience, but they look forward to the results, said Hendershot, who can keep tabs on the progress from the window of Hendershot's Sporting Goods.

"We're going to have some mess out here for a while," he said. "But I guess we have to, to get it fixed up again."

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