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CSX offer planned Monday

September 11, 1998|By JULIE E. GREENE

Hagerstown Roundhouse Museum officials will make an offer to CSX Corp. by Monday to take over the dilapidated roundhouse complex in their continuing effort to save if from demolition, the museum's president said Thursday.

A second demolition permit approved Thursday allows CSX Corp.'s contractor to demolish 11 structures at the complex, not including the crescent-shaped roundhouse, said Mike Heyser, city building inspector.

Demolition will not begin this week, said Rob Gould, CSX spokesman. Gould said he did not know when it would start.

A demolition permit for 14 of the 36 structures was approved on Aug. 12.

Crews continue removing asbestos and lead paint from some of the buildings, including the roundhouse, Heyser said.

Museum officials want to save the complex and turn it into a tourism attraction. The roundhouse is part of the largest railroad complex remaining from the steam era.

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Museum officials will once again ask CSX officials to spare the roundhouse and have ownership transferred to either the National Railway Historical Society in Philadelphia or another unidentified nonprofit group, said Bob Tracey, museum president.

Under that scenario, the local museum would reimburse CSX up to $500,000 for cleanup costs, he said.

At least three earlier attempts to save the roundhouse in which the city was involved failed because the city and CSX could not agree on terms.

If the roundhouse cannot be saved, Tracey said museum officials want to salvage the turntable and move the museum to larger quarters. The turntable is the second-longest in the world at about 115 feet. It allowed trains to move from several tracks into the roundhouse for repairs.

Museum officials are considering several new sites for a museum, all of which are in Washington County, but not necessarily in Hagerstown, Tracey said.

The demolition permit approved on Thursday includes the stores building, where museum officials want to move the museum. The museum has outgrown the 300 S. Burhans Blvd. building, Tracey said.

Tracey said he hasn't given up on saving the entire complex, especially the stores building, a long, two-story building parallel to the railroad tracks along City Park.

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