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YMCA needs your help

March 10, 1999

For more than a century, the Hagerstown YMCA has served the community in a variety of ways - providing recreational opportunities, character-building activities and even shelter to the less fortunate. Now, after 76 years at the corner of Church and Potomac streets, the YMCA has outgrown its old building.

The YMCA board determined that to continue its mission into the next century, it would need a new location with more space - green space, specifically - and better parking. After an aggressive funding-raising campaign during 1998 which brought in $4.3 million, the agency is turning to the Maryland General Assembly for help.

According to James G. Pierne, the campaign's co-chair, the YMCA is asking for a two-for-one matching grant bond bill in the amount of $1.5 million over two years. The request is being sponsored by Delegates Robert McKee and Chis Shank in the House and Senators Don Munson and Alex Mooney in the state senate.

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Despite a state surplus of more than $100 million, the competition for state funds is fierce, with nearly every jurisdiction competing for a share of any available cash. The Hagerstown project could easily get lost in the shuffle, unless local people speak up.

The best way to do that if by directing letters of support to the chairmen of the two committees that will consider this request.

On the House side, letters should go to Del. Howard Rawlings, House Appropriations Committee, 130 House Office Building, Annapolis, Md., 21401.

On the Senate side, correspondence should be sent to: state Sen. Barbara A. Hoffman, James Senate Office Building, 110 College Ave., Annapolis, Md., 21401-1991.

Letters should emphasize not only the the Y's past service to the community, but its continuing commitment to provide things like child care, nutritional counseling and injury-rehabilitation services. The Y board has also pledged to find a productive use for its old building, so that downtown isn't left with a large empty structture that would be difficult to fill.

In short, the YMCA is doing what it's always done- making plans to serve all segments of the community. Won't you please help by writing a letter?

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