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Plan submitted to save Kammerer house

February 12, 1999|By SCOTT BUTKI

Preservationists have submitted to Washington County their plan to turn the Kammerer house into a museum.

Washington County Commissioner Bert L. Iseminger had asked the preservationists to submit a plan showing how they would use the historic home if they could gain ownership of the property.

The preservationists also were asked to show they can afford to restore the house to pristine condition and maintain it. The house, built by Johan Ludwig Kammerer in 1774, is one of the oldest buildings in the county.

The property's owner, the Hagerstown-Washington County Industrial Foundation Inc., known as CHIEF, applied for a demolition permit in December. The house is on a half-acre lot in the Airport Business Park. It is surrounded by parking lots and buildings.

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Citicorp Credit Services wants to buy the property from CHIEF. However, Citicorp has agreed to listen to any proposals drawn up by members of the Washington County Historical Society and the Middleburg/Mason-Dixon Line Area Historical Society, Iseminger said.

Lee Stine, president of the Washington County Historical Society, said the county will now give the plan he developed to Citicorp.

"They feel they have a better chance negotiating with Citicorp themselves," Stine said.

The County Commissioners will develop their own proposal for Citicorp within two weeks, said County Administrator Rodney Shoop. If Citicorp likes Stine's plan, the commissioners will consider getting title of the land, he said.

If that occurred, the county would then lease the property to the preservationists for a small fee, he said.

"It is difficult to raise money on a 'what if,'" Stine said Friday after giving the plan to Shoop.

However, the historical society has financial commitments of about $50,000, he said. That is enough to restore the two-story home's exterior.

It will cost about $100,000 to restore the interior, he said.

"I am very pleased that we have gotten the county involved," Stine said.

CHIEF is willing to postpone the removal of the building while Citicorp, the county and preservationists consider the new proposal, said CHIEF President Merle Elliott.

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