City Council postpones park buildings grant vote

September 26, 2000

City Council postpones park buildings grant vote

By DAN KULIN / Staff Writer

The fate of the entrance and gatekeeper's buildings at Hagerstown's Fairgrounds Park is again up in the air.

The Hagerstown City Council was expected to formally accept $73,122 in state grants Tuesday to stabilize the deteriorating, city-owned structures.

But the 3-2 council majority that favored accepting the grants earlier this month evaporated Tuesday. Councilman Alfred W. Boyer said although he previously agreed to accept the grants, he now has "serious concerns."

Boyer asked that a final vote on the matter be postponed until the council reviews what the future plans are for those buildings and how much those plans might cost.

The buildings, which are connected, are vacant and in the 400 block of North Mulberry Street.

Council members have said accepting the grants to fix up the exteriors of the buildings probably would preclude the city from demolishing the buildings and force the eventual renovation of the structures. Some council members had mentioned demolition as a possibility for the gatekeeper's residence.


After Boyer's request, the council unanimously voted to postpone a vote on accepting the grants.

Earlier this month, council members Lewis C. Metzner, Susan Saum-Wicklein and Boyer supported accepting the grants, which were expected to require $43,000 in matching city funds.

Council members also agreed to try to establish a curatorship program for the buildings, under which an individual would be responsible for restoring one or both buildings in return for a free lease.

Councilmen William M. Breichner and J. Wallace McClure were against accepting the grants.

McClure said he favored using the grants to fix up the entrance building and not the former gatekeeper's residence. But McClure said that because the funds have to be used for both buildings he opposed accepting the money.

Tuesday, Boyer said McClure may be right.

Breichner, who has been an advocate of demolishing the buildings, has said the estimate for renovating the buildings is $750,000, and the city has better places to spend money.

Kathy Maher, Hagerstown senior planner who is overseeing plans for the gatekeeper's and entrance buildings, said the deadline for accepting the grants is the end of this month, but she said the council could ask for an extension. The council instructed Maher to request the extension.

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