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Council says get grants to fund park renovations

December 09, 1999|By DAN KULIN /Staff Writer

The main entrance building and the former keeper's residence at the Hagerstown Fairgrounds Park could be demolished if the city doesn't receive grant money to rehabilitate the structures.

Hagerstown City Council members on Tuesday told City Planner Kathy Maher, who is overseeing plans for the buildings, to seek grants for the renovations. Renovating both buildings is expected to cost about $717,000.

If Maher cannot find grant money to cover the cost of renovating the buildings, council members said she should seek permission to demolish the buildings.

Maher said that because the Fairgrounds property was bought with state Program Open Space funds, the city would have to get the Maryland Historic Trust to approve the demolitions.

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"I want the buildings to stay if we can get the (grant) money for them," Councilman Lewis C. Metzner said.

But Metzner said he was against using city funds to pay for the renovations.

Maher said getting approval to demolish the buildings "would be difficult, but might not be impossible."

During previous council meetings, council members said it was unlikely the Maryland Historic Trust would OK demolition of the buildings.

She said it would be "very difficult" to find enough money from other sources to pay for the renovations.

The council gave Maher informal approval to apply for a $50,000 state grant.

Current renovation plans are to spend about $242,000 to turn the keeper's residence, which was once two or three apartments, into a single residence that would be rented.

The entrance building would undergo roughly $475,000 in renovations, and would house a community room and a community technology room.

Meanwhile, the city is accepting bids to do emergency stabilization of the two buildings.

It is expected to cost at least $10,000 to fix the roofs, board windows and erect a fence around the buildings.

The work would protect the buildings from the weather and vandals.

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