Roundhouse demolition may resume next week

January 07, 1999|By DAN KULIN /Staff Writer

Buildings at the Hagerstown roundhouse complex could begin coming down next week even as officials with the state and roundhouse owner CSX Corp. plan to meet to see if any part of the landmark can be saved.

Demolition crews are expected to return to the site along South Burhans Boulevard by Tuesday, according to the demolition company, AWS Remediation Inc. in Pittsburgh.

AWS officials have been told to restart demolition at the roundhouse complex, said CSX Real Property Director Kevin Hurley.

The demolition could take up to three months, according to AWS.

Hurley said the roundhouse demolition had been temporarily stopped during November and December as CSX and state officials unsuccessfully tried to negotiate a transfer of the property.

CSX has offered to give the 42-acre roundhouse complex to the state if the state would indemnify CSX from future lawsuits, Hurley said.


State officials said they wouldn't indemnify CSX, he said. Hurley said the indemnification issue also has blocked the Hagerstown and Washington County governments from taking ownership of the property.

U.S. Rep. Roscoe Bartlett, R-Md., is organizing a meeting for next week to bring all the major parties together.

Expected to attend the meeting are officials from CSX; the Hagerstown Roundhouse Museum, which wants to save the complex and turn it into a museum; the Maryland Department of the Environment; and the state Department of General Services, which would have to agree that Maryland could assume ownership of the complex before CSX could give the property to the state.

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

Bartlett said he hopes the meeting will clear up any misunderstandings since it is the first time all the involved parties will meet face to face.

For the state to take ownership of the roundhouse, the Maryland Board of Public Works would have to approve the transfer.

Hurley said that CSX has not changed its offer and he was unaware of any change in the state's stance on this issue.

"I can appreciate what Congressman Bartlett is trying to do to satisfy himself that there aren't any other options. But I don't see any other options," Hurley said in a telephone interview from his Baltimore office.

"I'm not going into this meeting with any expectations (for a change)," he said.

Officials with the Department of General Services would not comment Thursday on the situation or the upcoming meeting.

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

Almost 30 small buildings at the complex have been demolished but all major buildings are still standing, said Robert Rollins, a member of the Roundhouse Museum board of directors.

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