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Red Cross wants building funds

December 04, 2000

Red Cross wants building funds



By LAURA ERNDE / Staff Writer


The Washington County chapter of the American Red Cross is one of two nonprofits that asked for the state's help with building projects Monday.

The Red Cross is seeking a $600,000 state grant toward a new $2 million building off Eastern Boulevard.

The other request came from Discovery Station at Hagerstown Inc., which is seeking $375,000 toward a $1.2 million interactive science center in downtown Hagerstown.

The Washington County Delegation to the Maryland General Assembly heard the requests Monday.

Early in the legislative session, which runs January through April, the local delegation will vote on which requests to pursue through the state's bond bill program.

The bond bill program allows nonprofits to compete for money that the state borrows on their behalf.

"There's incredible competition for these things. You've got to have your act together when you come to Annapolis," said Sen. Donald F. Munson, R-Washington.

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In a typical year, Washington County nonprofits receive $500,000 to $700,000, said Delegation Chairman Del. Robert A. McKee, R-Washington.

In making her pitch to the lawmakers, Red Cross Executive Director Julie Barr-Strasburg said her group has outgrown its 2,400-square-foot headquarters at 113 S. Prospect St. in Hagerstown.

The nonprofit has chosen a 5.4-acre site at 1131 Conrad Court to build a 14,000-square-foot building.

The extra space will allow the Red Cross to accept walk-in blood donors and establish a disaster command center, she said.

The Red Cross has already raised money to match the state grant and plans to kick off a fund-raising campaign in June. The new headquarters would open in December 2002.

Discovery Station needs money to renovate a building at 58 E. Washington St. that it is leasing from the City of Hagerstown, said Dave Barnhart, the organization's treasurer.

The interactive science center would be open to school groups, individual families and tourists, he said.

A third request may be coming from the Boys and Girls Club, but lawmakers have not yet heard the details of that request, McKee said.

Lawmakers won't have as many tough choices as last year, when the delegation received a record nine requests totaling $4 million.

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