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Mayor to push city campus site

June 14, 1999|By BRUCE HAMILTON

What is good for Washington County is not always good for Hagerstown, according to Mayor Robert E. Bruchey II.

The mayor plans to make that point to the University System of Maryland's Hagerstown campus steering committee at a public meeting Wednesday night.

Bruchey, City Economic Development Coordinator Deborah Everhart and architect Kurt Cushwa will try to convince the committee that a city property at 32-46 W. Washington St. is the best place for the educational complex.

The city mailed advance copies of the presentation's highlights to committee members Monday. It includes the mayor's questions for the group.

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According to the document, Bruchey plans to ask who will pay to extend sewer, water and gas lines 2,000 feet to Allegheny Power's Friendship Technology Park, a site the committee previously selected for the campus.

Another question reads, "What are the benefits to the City of Hagerstown's property owners and residents of locating the classroom facility at Allegheny Power and removing the Frostburg State University Center from downtown?"

The city's 1997 comprehensive plan specifically recommends locating a University System of Maryland educational facility downtown, according to Everhart's presentation.

Downtown has a collection of "underutilized buildings" that could accommodate classrooms, offices, labs and housing for students and faculty, the document states.

Educational facilities would improve the quality of life and attract businesses, according to the document.

The presentation will list the "pros" of downtown, including support services such as restaurants, printers, a library and post office, banks and teller machines, a drug store and public transportation.

Downtown's advantages also include easy access and the FSU center, Everhart will say. She will respond to issues of parking, safety, historic preservation, hazardous materials and the facility's future expansion.

Cushwa will give architectural reasons for a downtown location. He will also deliver a design proposal and cost analysis.

The architect has said that renovating the Baldwin House Complex will be $4 million to $6 million cheaper than the $12 million estimated cost of constructing a building on Allegheny Power's land.

Bruchey will emphasize the goals of Smart Growth, an initiative of Gov. Parris Glendening that calls for development around existing towns and cities. The state program supports the revitalization of downtown urban areas.

The document also includes letters of support for the downtown site from Cushwa, Mike McGough and William F. Park, part owner of the Hays Building at 28 W. Washington St.

"If this project moves forward, we will provide financial support as well as a commitment to make any reasonable changes to the appearance of our building that would become desirable to blend our property with the renovated Baldwin Project," Park wrote.

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