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Downtown projects receive nod from candidate

February 11, 2001|By DAN KULIN /Staff Writer

Downtown projects receive nod from candidate



Hagerstown City Council candidate John A. Budesky supports some city funding for a $4.4 million plan for more parking and open space around the planned University System of Maryland Hagerstown Education Center, as well as for plans for a $10.2 million Performing and Visual Arts Center around the Maryland Theatre.

On a proposed Civil War museum, Budesky said, "Conceptually, it's a great idea. But I'm not sure if at this point it is something the city should put money into."

"We need to look at setting a list of priorities. We need to focus on what we have before we look at additional expansion," he said.

Budesky, a Democrat, said the arts center should be done in stages. He supports the current council's decision to purchase the former McBare's Pub building, which will be demolished to make room for an expanded Maryland Theatre lobby under plans for the arts center.

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Budesky, 28, said, if elected, he would review how concerns from neighborhood groups are brought to the council.

Also, all council meetings "should be as open as possible," he said.

Budesky said council meetings should only be closed to the public "in rare situations" and when the council is discussing personnel issues or getting advice from legal counsel.

He said if elected, he would try to create an environment people want to be a part of and an environment people have a voice in; be fiscally responsible; and demonstrate results and that he was responsible with his position.

Also, Budesky said he wants to see more cooperation between the city and Washington County governments.

Budesky is executive director of the Washington County Community Partnership for Children and Families, which is a department of the county government.

Budesky said he sought and received approval from the county attorney before filing to run for council. He said he would abstain from any issue that posed a conflict between his role as a council member and his position with the county.

Budesky said his job wouldn't present a problem in dealing with the County Commissioners.

"I believe the commissioners are professional enough to see the difference between my professional recommendation and my political recommendation," Budesky said.

Budesky resides at 200 E. Irvin Ave. He has lived in Hagerstown for about 1 1/2 years.

A Pittsburgh native, Budesky said he's moved around a lot and has finally found "a community I want to reside in for rest of my life."

This is his first run for public office.

Budesky is one of nine Democratic candidates in the city's March 13 primary. The top five vote-getters from the primary move on to the May 15 general election.

Council members are paid $8,000 a year.

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