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Bartlett arranges roundhouse meeting

January 06, 1999|By DAN KULIN /Staff Writer

The final demolition permits for the Hagerstown roundhouse complex have been approved, but U.S. Rep. Roscoe Bartlett, R-Md., said he plans to bring together all interested parties in an effort to save the historic landmark.

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The major players involved in negotiating the future of the roundhouse have never had a face-to-face meeting, said Bartlett, who plans to hold such a meeting, possibly next week.

The roundhouse complex along South Burhans Boulevard was once a working train repair station and has been the focus of a preservation effort for several years.

Bartlett said he will moderate a meeting between representatives from CSX Corp., which owns the roundhouse; the Hagerstown Roundhouse Museum, which wants to save the complex and turn it into a museum; and Maryland's Department of the Environment and the state Department of General Services, which would have to agree for Maryland to take over ownership of the complex before CSX could give the property to the state.

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Bartlett said the meeting probably would be held on Jan. 14, but a time and location have not been decided.

"I suspect all the issues are known and it's just a problem of communications," Bartlett said during a telephone interview from his Washington, D.C., office. "I think everyone would like to preserve the roundhouse."

CSX halted demolition at the roundhouse in December and discussed the possibility of the state taking over ownership of the property.

CSX was willing to donate the 42-acre property to the state in exchange for the state relieving the company of any future liability, Kevin Hurley said during an interview from CSX offices in Baltimore.

"They indicated they could not indemnify us," Hurley said, adding that demolition at the site was scheduled to resume next week.

State officials could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

On Tuesday, the Hagerstown Engineering and Inspections Department approved the final two demolition permits for the roundhouse complex.

CSX officials could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

Bartlett said that he had spoken with CSX officials and they were "supportive of having a meeting."

An official at AWS Remediation Inc., the Pittsburgh company hired to demolish the roundhouse, said Wednesday that their employees left the roundhouse site before Christmas and haven't been asked to return.

AWS has torn down almost 30 small buildings at the complex, but all major buildings are still standing, said Robert Rollins, a member of the Roundhouse Museum Board of Directors.

Rollins said he and other Roundhouse Museum backers are encouraged by the prospect of the meeting.

"It sounds like it might accomplish something," Rollins said. "Mr. Bartlett has kept things alive for us and we'll see what comes from this."

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