City seeks state funds for projects

December 20, 1999|By LAURA ERNDE

The Hagerstown City Council asked for $500,000 in state grant funding Monday for a downtown revitalization project and pavilions at the Hagerstown Fairgrounds.

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The Washington County legislative delegation will have to prioritize what is now more than $2 million in funding requests during the upcoming 90-day session of the Maryland General Assembly.

In a typical year, the delegation gets about $500,000 through the state's bond bill program, through which the state borrows money on behalf of nonprofits. County delegations from across the state compete for the money.

On Monday, the Hagerstown presented its requests:

- $150,000 to help build seven pavilions at the Hagerstown Fairgrounds Park.

City Council members acknowledged that the state made the purchase of the 68 acres possible, but said they need money to further develop the park.


- $350,000 to develop an Arts and Entertainment District in the first block of South Potomac Street.

The plan calls for better vehicle access to off-street parking and better pedestrian walkways from the parking lots to attractions such as the Maryland Theatre, restaurants, specialty shops and the library.

A state grant would be matched by $370,000 in local money.

The city has been turned down twice by the State Highway Administration for funding.

Delegation Chairman Del. Robert A. McKee, R-Washington, said the city is essentially competing with local nonprofits by making the requests.

Councilman Lewis C. Metzner said the city isn't looking to profit from the two projects, which would benefit all the citizens of the city and county.

McKee was not expecting the requests. Although the city had gotten information from McKee's office about the bond bill process, no one from the city signed up for a Dec. 3 public hearing.

The other requests are:

-- Hagerstown YMCA - $500,000 toward a new $8.5 million center on Eastern Boulevard.

The YMCA got $500,000 last year and once again is at the top of the list of YMCA projects statewide.

-- American Red Cross, Washington County chapter - $500,000 to replace its small headquarters on South Prospect Street in Hagerstown.

-- Humane Society of Washington County - $250,000 toward a new $2 million shelter on Maugansville Road.

-- Washington County Agricultural Education Center - $150,000 to build a barn and outdoor village at its Rural Heritage Museum on Sharpsburg Pike.

-- Clear Spring Library - $100,000 toward its goal of $800,000.

-- Children's Village - $75,000 to finish work on a police and fire building on Mount Aetna Road that would allow the safety program to accept paying customers from out-of-county school districts.

-- Hagerstown Area Police Athletic League - $45,000 toward a $150,000 hockey, basketball and skating area at the Hagerstown Fairgrounds Park.

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