City seeks county aid for court area fixup

November 08, 2000

City seeks county aid for court area fixup

By SCOTT BUTKI / Staff Writer

The Greater Hagerstown Committee is asking the Washington County Commissioners to chip in 50 percent of the cost of a $550,000 project to widen alleys and improve lighting around the new District Court building.

The city of Hagerstown has budgeted about $275,000 for the project and the county is being asked to contribute the same amount.

The commissioners are being asked to vote on the funding at a joint meeting of the City Council and County Commissioners Nov. 21.

The state will be asked to provide about $100,000, Jack Garrott, a Greater Hagerstown Committee representative, told the County Commissioners.

If the state money is forthcoming, the county and city obligations would be reduced, he said.

The commissioners must prioritize projects they want to help with in downtown Hagerstown and how those projects will be funded, but will take the request under advisement, Commissioners President Gregory I. Snook said.


The project would help enhance the area around the new District Court building, Garrott said.

With the property donations, the alleyways on three sides of the District Court building and the parking lot would be widened, providing for two-way traffic as well as for sidewalks for pedestrian traffic on two sides of the District Court building.

Lighting also would be improved along those alleyways.

The first phase includes $125,000 for buying the so-called Unikote building at 18 W. Antietam Street. It would be demolished as part of the second phase, freeing up space for a 27-space parking lot, Garrott said.

He predicted a parking deck would be built at the Hagerstown Trust parking lot, which is adjacent to District Court, but said that is not part of this project.

Also, the city has asked the county delegation to the Maryland General Assembly to support a $738,500 request for additional state funds to enhance the project.

The state money would pay for additional items including the purchase of the McBare's Pub building on South Potomac Street, which would be demolished under a plan to expand The Maryland Theatre lobby; the bricking and enhanced lighting in alleys next to the theater and The Plum restaurant; and the possible demolition of the Unikote building and paving of that property for parking.

Some property would need to be acquired, he said, but the affected property owners have agreed to give up their real estate voluntarily, he said.

The donations are valued at $75,000, he said. Those come from Vincent Groh, the state of Maryland, Hagerstown Trust and Farmers and Merchant Bank.

Construction work on Phase 1 is scheduled to be completed by early summer 2001, Garrott said.

The Herald-Mail Articles