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University ranked top priority

November 14, 2000

University ranked top priority



By SCOTT BUTKI / Staff Writer


The Washington County Commissioners have ranked the University System of Maryland Hagerstown Education Center and a related project as its most important community project on a list that will be given to the local delegation to the Maryland General Assembly.

The list has a total price tag of about $160.4 million, of which $5.4 million would come from the county. The delegation will be asked to seek state funding support for the items on the list.

During a meeting last week, a commissioner asked if the county could rank some of the community projects for which government agencies and other groups are going to seek state funds.

The No. 1 ranking went to open space and parking for downtown Hagerstown near the University System of Maryland Hagerstown Education Center at a projected cost of $4.4 million. The commissioners included in that request separate funding for the $12 million campus, which the governor has promised to support.

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The Hagerstown Regional Airport runway extension was ranked as the second most important request. The cost, which includes money to bridge U.S. 11, was estimated in a county document at about $53 million: $38.3 million for runway extension-related costs and $14.4 million for the U.S. 11 part of the project.

Prior to the discussion, County Administrator Rodney Shoop confirmed that when you include all related runway costs, such as money to acquire property and rehabilitate other runways, the runway costs increase to about $53 million.

Previously Shoop has estimated the capital costs at about $38 million. The cost estimates vary depending on which costs are included in the total, he said.

Ranked third was the $1.3 million Southwest Quadrant Enhancement Project.

Fourth was $800,000 for the Clear Spring Library.

Also on the list is a $15 million baseball stadium, but that is awaiting the County Commissioners' approval.

The list includes, but did not rank, a $10.2 million Arts and Entertainment District and $18 million for Southern Boulevard.

Other projects were moved to the bottom of the list because the commissioners ranked them as less important and less realistic at this point.

Those projects include the $46 million Civil War Museum, the Washington County Board of Education Office relocation to downtown Hagerstown and a parking deck by Washington County District Court. There were no cost estimates for the School Board relocation or for the parking deck.

The county has not committed funds to most of the projects.

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