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City forgives loan, takes vacant lot in exchange

March 14, 2000

Hagerstown City Council members agreed Tuesday to forgive a $264,000 loan in return for ownership of a vacant lot on South Potomac Street across from Bester Elementary School in Hagerstown.

Interfaith Housing of Western Maryland, which purchased the property at 501-515 S. Potomac St. in 1993, obtained the city loan in 1996 to refinance a bank mortgage and demolish houses on the property. The loan was funded by the city's Community Development Block Grant, which is federal funds the city disperses.

The houses on the property have been demolished.

City Community Development Department Manager George Andreve said Tuesday that two Interfaith board members requested the city take the deed to the property in lieu of foreclosing on the loan.

Councilmen William M. Breichner and Lewis C. Metzner said the Interfaith group became involved with the properties with the intention of helping the city.

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"They did this to help the city and it didn't work out," Metzner said.

Councilman J. Wallace McClure at first voiced concern over the city taking ownership of another property. But after being told the property was vacant he supported the request.

The council is expected to formally vote on the matter on March 28.

- Dan Kulin

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