New year brings new projects for Hagerstown

December 23, 2000

New year brings new projects for Hagerstown

By DAN KULIN and SCOTT BUTKI / Staff Writers

Hagerstown city elections, a new Washington County landfill and a new Hagerstown YMCA are just a few of the major events and projects due in 2001.

Also next year, Washington County residents will see work started on new transportation projects and the release of the long-awaited fire and rescue report.

Environmental cleanup of the University System of Maryland's Hagerstown Education Center will start, while the Role Models Academy is scheduled to have increased enrollment.

A push for a Hagerstown Regional Airport runway extension is also scheduled to continue next year.

Hagerstown election

Hagerstown voters will elect a mayor and city council in 2001.

The primary election is March 13, and the general election is May 15.

Voters have until Feb. 12 to register to vote in the primary. The last day voters can register to vote in the general election is April 16.


The deadline to file as a candidate for mayor or council is Jan. 26.

As of Friday, Ira P. Kauffman and Larry Vaughn were the only candidates who have filed for the 2001 election. Both are Democrats and former council members.

Election winners - one mayor and five council members - will be sworn in May 28.

Transportation projects

Several major transportation projects are planned for 2001, including the repaving of some main roads into and through downtown Hagerstown, according to the Maryland State Highway Administration.

Scheduled transportation projects include:

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> Completing the repaving of Dual Highway in Hagerstown from Cannon Avenue to Interstate 70. The $1.9 million project began in fall 1999 and should be completed in the spring.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> Repaving West Washington and West Franklin streets in Hagerstown from Walnut Street to Potomac Street. The $1 million project is projected to begin in the late summer or early fall.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> Finishing the new $16.8 million interchange at Interstate 81 and Halfway Boulevard, with an eight-lane bridge and a partial cloverleaf design. The project began in spring 1998 and is expected to be completed in the fall.

New YMCA opening

The new Hagerstown YMCA being built along Eastern Boulevard is expected to open in the fall.

There will be two soccer fields. Inside amenities will include two swimming pools, a gymnasium, fitness and exercise areas and a childcare center.

Michael Flicek, executive director of the Hagerstown YMCA, said the facility will cost $7.1 million to build. The 28 acres the building will sit on cost $900,000.

Construction of the 63,000-square-foot building began in June.

The Hagerstown YMCA is currently located at 149 N. Potomac St.

When asked what will happen to that facility when the new YMCA opens, Flicek said, "What stays (at the old building) is yet to be determined."

Fairgrounds Park

A grand opening of the redeveloped former fairgrounds is expected in mid-April.

The new outdoor recreational center will include three softball fields, three soccer fields, one little league baseball field, and paved walking trails. A dirt-bike racing course at the fairgrounds has already been in use for more than a year.

Fairgrounds Park covers about 68 acres at the end of North Cleveland Avenue in Hagerstown.

The redevelopment is expected to cost $2.2 million once the work planned for 2001 is completed.

Landfill opening

The $36.3 million Forty West Landfill, which opened for use by contractors Dec. 11, will open for public use Jan. 15.

The 425-acre site has the capacity to receive garbage for the next 80 to 100 years.

Until the landfill is opened to the public in mid-January, residents should continue to take their garbage to the Resh Sanitary Landfill.

Public Works Director Gary Rohrer said public use of the new site has a later opening date so the Solid Waste Department can monitor the first layer of trash in an attempt to protect the dump's 30-inch liner from damage. Once the first layer of garbage has been safely placed, the landfill will be put into full use.

Academy growing

The National Role Models Academy is scheduled to increase its student enrollment from 50 to 100 on Jan. 3, said Jimmie Jones, a retired Army colonel who is principal and commandant at the school at the former Fort Ritchie Army base.

More students are scheduled to start attending class in September 2001.

The academy is being funded by a $10 million, two-year grant from the U.S. Department of Labor. The grant is scheduled to run out in summer 2002.

While the school was originally billed as a place to help high school dropouts, in early December academy representatives said students who were at risk of dropping out are now being accepted.

Fire and rescue report

The much-anticipated fire and rescue report should be completed and given to the Washington County Commissioners in January, said Washington County Commissioner Bert L. Iseminger, who is on the Washington County Emergency Services Committee.

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