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Bartlett opponent tours downtown

September 08, 2000

Bartlett opponent tours downtown



By DON WORTHINGTON / Staff Writer


Over the rumbling of passing cars, 6th District Congressional candidate Don DeArmon received a primer on urban renewal Friday - at least what two local officials think should happen in downtown Hagerstown.

Led by Hagerstown City Councilman William. M. Breichner and Washington County Commissioner John Schnebly, DeArmon walked the streets of downtown Friday afternoon.

He didn't shake hands or solicit votes, but he listened as Breichner and Schnebly briefed him on downtown projects such as the University of Maryland Education Center expected to be located in the city-owned Baldwin House complex, the renovations of the Maryland Theater and a proposed downtown Civil War museum. Managing traffic and having adequate and adjacent parking is crucial to these and other downtown projects, they said.

DeArmon, a Democrat, is making his second run for Congress. He faces Republican Roscoe G. Bartlett, who is seeking his fifth term.

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The election is Nov. 7.

DeArmon's visit was part of a weeklong effort to bring a higher profile to his campaign. A member of Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard's congressional staff who serves on the Appropriations Committee, DeArmon is on leave from his position through the November election.

He spent this week visiting each of the counties in the congressional district.

His focus Friday was getting to know Hagerstown-Washington County issues better and learning how the federal government could help.

Regarding urban renewal, DeArmon noted that Hagerstown, Cumberland, Frederick and even the smaller towns of Boonsboro, Williamsport and Hancock face many of the same issues.

The issues range from the impact of the Americans With Disabilities Act to fire codes, lead paint removal standards and federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration standards, said Breichner.

One of the responsibilities of Congress, DeArmon said, is to look at such regulations and "make them flexible" if they're having an adverse effect.

Breichner and Schnebly said it was important that whoever represents the area in Congress be aware of such issues. They said the federal government needs to be involved in the city's downtown efforts.

Transportation was also a concern expressed by Breichner and Schnebly. They noted that the widening of Interstate 81 is an important state and federal issue.

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