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Mayor gives update on downtown projects

March 07, 2001

Mayor gives update on downtown projects



By JULIE E. GREENE

julieg@herald-mail.com

Hagerstown Mayor Robert E. Bruchey II encouraged people to vote next week and updated business and civic leaders on redevelopment projects Tuesday following his State of the City presentation.

Bruchey told the packed ballroom at the Ramada Inn and Convention Center about his experience at the Kids Voting Parade last year at Salem Elementary School.

After asking 20 percent of the children to stand up, he asked the children who remained sitting how they would like it if the kids standing up made all the decisions for them.

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They didn't like that, he said.

"That's why you have to go home and tell your parents to vote," Bruchey said.

A week before the city's March 13 primary election, Bruchey spoke briefly Tuesday morning before introducing an 18-minute video that highlighted city projects.

Following the video, Bruchey commented on the upcoming election and took questions from the audience, most of which focused on redevelopment projects.

Bruchey said he believes Rockville, Md., developer Marc Silverman's plans for upscale office space downtown will come to fruition, even though Silverman's first demolition application was turned down by the Preservation Design District Commission. Silverman's original plans called for razing the city-owned Tri-State building, the Double T Lounge and a building owned by Joe Walker.

Silverman won't request permission for demolition until he has financing and tenants in place for the office space, city officials said.

The mayor said a bond bill, including $375,000 for the Discovery Station, has been introduced during the current session of the Maryland General Assembly. Supporters are trying to raise $1.4 million in public and private funds for the interactive science center to open in the vacant Tusing warehouse downtown.

Bruchey said a decision on whether to reuse McBare's Pub next to the Maryland Theatre is on hold for four months until the Performing and Visual Arts Committee's feasibility study is completed.

Original plans were to demolish the pub so the theater's lobby could be expanded, city officials said.

Maryland Theatre Executive Director Pat Wolford submitted an alternate plan to reuse the pub space for the theater's youth, but that proposal was at odds with plans to turn neighboring buildings into a Performing and Visual Arts Center, said Hagerstown Senior Planner Kathy Maher.

Bruchey did not give an update on the city's finances, but said after his address that the city was in "good shape."

The State of the City was hosted by the Hagerstown-Washington County Chamber of Commerce and sponsored by Wright-Gardner and Tischer Insurance Inc.

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