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$10 million arts center proposed

June 05, 2000|By DAN KULIN /Staff Writer

Plans for a $10 million performing and visual arts center in downtown Hagerstown will be unveiled Monday, according to Jim Pierne, who heads a Chamber of Commerce committee proposing the project.

The center would improve and expand The Maryland Theatre in the first block of South Potomac Street.

"It's kind of exciting we can start, but this is a long way from happening," Pierne said Friday.

He said the committee hasn't decided where funding may come from, but added it would probably be a combination of private and government funding.

There is no timetable for construction, he said.

The arts center proposal will be unveiled to the public at 6:30 p.m. Monday at the theater.

Pierne, chairman of the Hagerstown-Washington County Chamber of Commerce's Arts & Entertainment District Implementation Committee, said the purpose of the Monday presentation is to get feedback on the idea.

Hagerstown Senior Planner Kathy Maher, the city's point person for plans related to the creation of a downtown Arts & Entertainment District, said plans for the arts center include:

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* Building a new lobby area onto the front of The Maryland Theatre.

* Buying and demolishing the three-story building next to the theater now occupied by McBare's Pub.

The new theater lobby and improvements to the theater courtyard would occupy that space.

* Buying and renovating the two buildings on the other side of the theater. One is vacant, the other houses the Maryland Symphony Orchestra office.

The proposed Arts & Entertainment District project is being spearheaded by the local Chamber of Commerce.

In addition to the theater improvements, the arts center would provide space for dance and art classes, Maher said.

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