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Discovery Station lease in the works

June 08, 1999|By DAN KULIN /Staff Writer

Hagerstown City Council members informally agreed Tuesday to lease the former Tusing warehouse in downtown Hagerstown to the promoters of Discovery Station, who would turn the building into a permanent interactive science center.

When completed, Discovery Station will include exhibits on dinosaurs and telescopes, promoters told council members during a Tuesday meeting.

The vacant three-story brick building is at the rear of a parking lot at 58 E. Washington St., and is visible from the first blocks of East Franklin Street and North Potomac Avenue.

The city paid $360,000 for the building and adjacent parking lot in November 1997, according to City Community Development Manager George Andreve.

Beverly Baccala, president of the Discovery Station board of directors, was joined by board Treasurer Dave Barnhart and board Vice President Kurt Cushwa for the presentation, in which they asked the council to consider a five- to seven-year lease at $1 a year.

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Cushwa, a Hagerstown architect, said renovations and additions to the building probably would cost a little less than $1 million.

Councilman Alfred W. Boyer expressed some concern about the impact the facility would have on parking downtown.

Councilman William M. Breichner, a Discovery Station board member, said the city's commitment of the building would make it easier for the group to raise funds.

Councilman J. Wallace McClure said putting Discovery Station in the Tusing building sounded like a great plan.

Councilman Lewis C. Metzner said he, too, supported the plan.

City Administrator Bruce Zimmerman said he would get together with other city staff to develop a draft lease agreement for the building, and no one objected.

Zimmerman said a draft lease would probably be ready to be reviewed by the council in July or August.

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