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City Council puts off accepting state grant for museum group

October 25, 2000

City Council puts off accepting state grant for museum group



By DAN KULIN / Staff Writer


Decisions on accepting a state grant and sending a letter of support for a proposed Civil War museum for downtown Hagerstown were put on hold Tuesday by a divided City Council.

The council voted 3-2 to postpone a vote on accepting a $75,000 grant from the Maryland Economic Development Assistance Fund, which the city would pass on to the Antietam Creek Coalition. The coalition is proposing a $46 million Civil War museum for the first block of West Antietam Street.

In another 3-2 vote, the council postponed a decision on sending a letter to the governor asking that the state provide $8 million over three years to fund the museum.

Councilmen Lewis C. Metzner, William M. Breichner and Alfred W. Boyer voted to postpone both decisions, saying they wanted to further discuss the grant before making a decision.

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During an interview before the meeting Randy Harper, chairman of the Antietam Creek Coalition, said the $75,000 grant would be used to "defray costs of such as travel expenses and people's time."

The Antietam Creek Coalition has already completed a two-volume study, which was paid for with $95,000 from the state, Washington County and the city, plus a $5,000 private contribution.

Council members also had problems with some of the wording in the drafted letter of support for the project.

The letter called the museum project the "key to our downtown revitalization plans."

Metzner said it was "premature" to send the letter. He also disagreed that the museum is the "key" to downtown redevelopment.

Metzner said the museum should be discussed by the council during a scheduled "goal-setting retreat" on Friday.

"We need to decide what our priorities are," he said.

Council members J. Wallace McClure and Susan Saum-Wicklein opposed postponing the votes.

Mayor Robert E. Bruchey II also voiced his opposition to postponing the votes.

City Administrator Bruce Zimmerman said both matters probably will be discussed during a Nov. 7 council meeting. He said the council could vote on both items during that meeting.

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