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City Council majority supports grants for fairground buildings

October 10, 2000

City Council majority supports grants for fairground buildings



By DAN KULIN / Staff Writer


The fate of two deteriorating buildings at the Hagerstown Fairgrounds Park is on stable ground again.

Last month City Councilman Alfred W. Boyer questioned whether the city should accept the grants to stabilize the entrance and gatekeeper's buildings. Council members say accepting the grants would preclude demolition of the city-owned structures.

Tuesday, Boyer said he favors accepting the grants to stabilize buildings. With Boyer's backing, there is a 3-2 council majority in favor of accepting the $73,122 in grants.

"I needed and wanted more time and have confirmed to myself, saving the gatekeeper's and entrance buildings is a value," Boyer said.

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"(It is) important to our community and our heritage to try and save (the buildings)," he said.

Council members Lewis C. Metzner and Susan Saum-Wicklein also want to accept the grants; $43,122 from the Maryland Historical Trust and $30,000 from Save Maryland's Treasures.

Councilmen William M. Breichner and J. Wallace McClure oppose 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.

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.

A council vote on accepting the grants is expected on Oct. 24.

Accepting the grants would convey a preservation easement on the buildings to the Maryland Historical Trust. The easement would not require the city to completely rehabilitate the buildings, but it would require the city to maintain the work done with the grant money.

The grant money is expected to be used to stabilize the buildings, which could include improvements such as fixing windows, repairing roofs, and painting the exteriors.

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

Council members have 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.

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