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Hancock Rail Trail park dedicated

June 24, 1999|By SCOTT BUTKI

HANCOCK - A $230,000 Hancock park connecting Main Street to the Western Maryland Rail Trail was dedicated Thursday.

The 100-foot-by-140-foot Western Maryland Rail Trail Park includes a garden, park benches and ramps, offering an easy way to get from the street to the trail and, beyond that, the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal.

The park is not complete, though. A fountain, a gazebo, picnic tables and umbrellas are part of the park plans, Mayor Daniel A. Murphy said.

The town hopes to use the park for art shows, concerts and other cultural events, Murphy said.

The park is on property where a bar and apartment buildings were destroyed by fire on New Year's Eve 1992, Murphy said. The town bought the property soon afterward, he said.

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The park is being paid for with $160,000 in state Community Development Block Grant funds and $70,000 from the Appalachian Regional Commission, Town Manager Louis O. Close said.

The town has received an additional $9,000 state grant, which it will use to help pay for the gazebo and fountain, Murphy said. The town hopes to get about $3,000 more in contributions from residents and corporations, he said.

"This stuff does not happen unless there is money to make it happen," state Sen. Donald Munson, R-Washington, said at the dedication ceremony. "But it doesn't happen just because of money - it takes leadership."

Some of that leadership credit goes to former Mayor Ralph E. Wachter, Murphy said.

Wachter noted that he was born in an apartment that once stood on what is now the park.

Murphy said the park enhances Main Street improvements, which included upgrading sidewalks. The improvements were part of a $1.4 million Maryland State Highways Streetscape Project.

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