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Funding for fire marshal, stadium tops council's wish list

November 09, 1999|By DAN KULIN /Staff Writer

State funding for a new baseball stadium and the city's fire marshal office are among a list of issues the Hagerstown City Council plan to discuss with the Washington County delegation to the Maryland General Assembly before the delegates return to Annapolis in January.

The council on Tuesday also agreed they would approach the delegates on lead paint abatement regulations, state maintenance of highways leading into the city, and state funding for downtown parking improvements and construction at the city's Fairgrounds Park.

Issues including a law to put people who make death threats in jail for 48 hours, giving police the ability to seize vehicles used in soliciting prostitutes, and stronger penalties for those violating liquor laws, were also discussed.

Council members disagreed on whether to support some of those issues and decided to discuss them again at their meeting next week.

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Funding for a new baseball stadium has become a priority for a majority of council members, who on Tuesday said they back a stadium proposal that would cost the city $3 million.

The stadium proposal, which includes plans for a railroad museum that would go next to the baseball field, would require $6 million in state funds, according to a funding plan presented by a committee from the Hagerstown-Washington County Chamber of Commerce. The committee developed the plan being supported by most council members.

Council members also would like the state to pay for all or a portion of the city's fire marshal's office.

In most jurisdictions fire marshals are provided by the state, so city officials say the state should reimburse the city for the money the state saves by not having to provide that service in Hagerstown.

The council also wants the delegation to work to modify the state's lead paint abatement regulations so they conform with federal guidelines, according to a draft of the city's requests to the delegation.

Council members were concerned with the appearance of areas around state highways that are in the city but maintained by the state.

Some council members said the state sometimes fails to cut the grass and clean up the areas around the highways in a timely manner.

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