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Police visibility downtown among goals

December 08, 2000

Police visibility downtown among goals



By SCOTT BUTKI / Staff Writer


Hagerstown city leaders said Friday they want to see more police presence in downtown Hagerstown and have listed it as a possible goal for the next year.

Councilman William Breichner made the suggestion during a goal-setting retreat Friday morning. He asked why police can't have foot patrols of some downtown streets as much as they did in the past.

Mayor Robert E. Bruchey II said there is no reason why there can't be two officers downtown, especially considering there used to be four.

It is important to have police visibility downtown, both said, and other city officials agreed.

Chief Arthur Smith was unavailable for comment Friday.

The council took no action on the goals, some of which were added during Friday's meeting.

Breichner also suggested the city explore hiring a lobbyist to promote city-sponsored legislation to members of the Maryland General Assembly.

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His suggestion wasn't intended to slight the local delegation to the assembly but to take into consideration that they are so busy they may not have time to lobby as much as the city would like, he said.

Councilman Lew Metzner said the city should at least start compiling a list of recommended lobbyists.

City officials didn't seem to think Washington County government would be interested in sharing a lobbyist. But there has been some talk at the county level about sharing a lobbyist with other Western Maryland counties.

County Administrator Rodney Shoop said the county would be interested in talking with city officials about this. Sharing a lobbyist could help ensure there is one person in Annapolis working for all of the citizens of Washington County, he said.

Another new potential goal, suggested by Bruchey, is having the city employ someone to market the city of Hagerstown, including doing business recruitment and encouraging people to move to the city. This could be done either with a new person or with present city employees.

Once the goals are finalized at a later meeting, there will be objectives listed with each goals. Some goals will be discussed at future city workshop discussions.

Other possible goals offered by various council members and City Administrator Bruce Zimmerman include:

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> Require developers of downtown Hagerstown projects to do something for parking problems downtown.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> Determine how to deal with burned out, vacant or non-contributing buildings.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> Build the tax base.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> Revitalize downtown.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> Revitalization of residential neighborhoods.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> Strengthen financial condition of the general fund.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> Reduce street crime.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> Enhance the city's image to current and prospective residents.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> Maintain and enhance city's capital infrastructure.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> Develop and implement major community enhancement projects.

One issue scheduled for discussion at Friday's meeting was delayed after a few comments were made. That was the possibility of selling monthly passes to downtown residents. The passes could be used at any metered parking space downtown.

The passes were requested by residents, so they can park at home at night after work and not get a parking ticket in the morning.

The issue will be discussed further at the Dec. 19 meeting, Bruchey said.

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