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Sharpsburg library to stay open, Baykan says

January 03, 2000|By ANDREA ROWLAND

SHARPSBURG- Del. Christopher B. Shank, R-Washington, attended the Monday night meeting of the Sharpsburg Mayor and Town Council to "see what's on people's minds" in one of the three municipalities that he represents, Shank said.

Some 15 audience members took part in a discussion that focused on the future of the Sharpsburg Library, the proposed county hotel-motel room tax to support a new stadium in Hagerstown, and Sharpsburg's involvement in the Civil War Heritage Area project.

Mayor George Kesler read a letter from Mary Baykan, director of the Washington County Free Library, in which she assured the town that the county library had no plans to close its Sharpsburg branch.

The town had feared its library might perish in the face of a county proposal to build a large library in Boonsboro.

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Despite the library director's written assurance, the Washington County Free Library plans to replace the library boards of all town branches with "Friends of the Library"- a county-run group whose main thrust will be fund-raising, Sharpsburg Librarian Sarah Jane Baker said a county representative told her at a recent meeting.

Councilman Ralph Hammond said the central library in Hagerstown wants "total control" of all libraries in surrounding communities.

"Library boards are valuable in that they know what the local library needs," Hammond said. "Total control is not always the best method."

Kesler asked Town Attorney Charles Wagaman Jr. to look into the issue by contacting Baykan in writing, and to investigate The Sharpsburg Library's charter.

The Sharpsburg Library is a non-stock, membership corporation, Wagaman said.

Joanne and Paul Breitenbach, the owners of Jacob Rohrbach Inn Bed & Breakfast in Sharpsburg, told Shank that they oppose the proposed 2 percent increase in the county hotel-motel room tax.

The tax has been proposed to help fund a new stadium in Hagerstown.

The increase would be "detrimental" to many small bed and breakfast owners, especially proprietors of inns farther from Hagerstown, Joanne Breitenbach said.

Guests at the Breitenbach's four-bedroom establishment visit the area to tour Antietam National Battlefield, not go to a baseball game, she said.

Nearly all those in the audience raised their hands in response to Shanks question, "Who opposes the stadium?"

Councilwoman Denise Troxell also asked Shank to inquire about Sharpsburg's participation in the Civil War Heritage Area project. The town agreed to participate in the project, which targets tourism for areas rich in Civil War history, under the provision that a Town Council member would represent Sharpsburg during the project's planning stages, Troxell said.

Kesler said the town has not been advised of any meetings, yet Shank said planning meetings have been held.

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