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CSX applies for roundhouse demolition permit

July 23, 1998|By JULIE E. GREENE

CSX Real Property's contractor on Wednesday filed for a demolition permit to raze 36 buildings on the Hagerstown roundhouse property, according to Hagerstown's permit office.

Building Inspector Mike Heyser said permit approval would probably take two weeks.

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According to the permit application, the demolition is expected to cost $995,000. The work would include tearing down the roundhouse, two erecting shops, the turntable pit, three blacksmith shops, and the storehouse and office building.

Hagerstown Roundhouse Museum Inc. President Bob Tracey said he thinks the only way the roundhouse complex can be saved is to find a private investor.

Roundhouse officials are talking to a potential investor from out of town who has local ties, Tracey said.

If the complex is lost, the community will lose the greatest tourism attraction tied to economic development that it could have, Tracey said.

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Work has begun to remove asbestos from several buildings on the property along South Burhans Boulevard, officials said.

A Maryland Department of Environment inspector was at the complex Wednesday to make sure the removal was being done properly by a contractor approved by the department, said Quentin Banks, the environmental department's spokesman.

Asbestos will have to be removed whether the complex is renovated or razed, Tracey said.

The permit fee cost $3,553, according to the permit application. The application must be reviewed by the water, sewer, electrical, fire and planning and zoning departments, Heyser said.

CSX Real Property President Stephen Beck gave roundhouse officials a July 29 deadline to raise $500,000 to reimburse CSX for cleanup costs and to find a government agency or private investor to take over legal responsibility for any environmental problems that might crop up on the property, Tracey said.

"They gave us 'til the end of the month to come up with some kind of strategy or something. I guess the worse part of that is we still don't have the correct information to make that kind of decision," said Hagerstown Mayor Robert E. Bruchey II.

Neither the state environmental department nor CSX have provided a recent study listing what contaminants are on the 40 acres, Bruchey said.

Beck could not be reached for comment.

Bruchey said he would not saddle taxpayers with a project that could cost millions for environmental cleanup.

"It is a part of our heritage. I'd really like to do everything the city possibly can to preserve that heritage, but so far they aren't giving us any information," Bruchey said.

Hagerstown and Washington County elected officials are expected to discuss the fate of the roundhouse during a joint meeting on Tuesday.

CSX's contractor is AWS Remediation Inc. of Export, Pa., and the asbestos removal contractor is American Asbestos Control Co. of Cranberry Township, Pa., according to the permit application.

Staff Writer Guy Fletcher contributed to this story.

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