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HotSpots area to get new police substation

March 26, 2001

HotSpots area to get new police substation



By KIMBERLY YAKOWSKI

kimy@herald-mail.com

Hagerstown police officers will be working out of a new substation in the HotSpots area by this summer.

Plans are in the works to phase out the present substation at North and Jonathan streets and to use federal grant money to build a new substation on Bethel Gardens property on Murph Avenue.

Bethel Gardens Manager Cathy Dotson and HotSpots officials secured the $150,000 U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development grant that the city will use to pay for the project.

"I'm very excited, but I'm more excited for the residents," said Dotson.

She said it is her hope that having police and parole and probation officers going in and out of the new building will reduce crime in that area.

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"It seemed to be the best possible location we could come up with," said Dotson.

She said she has noticed fewer people congregating at North and Jonathan streets and attributes that to the police presence at the substation.

The building will have several windows from which police will be able to conduct surveillance, she said.

The building will be 18 feet by 26 feet and will have a lobby and two offices, one for police and the other for parole and probation officers.

The substation's construction will cost $60,480, she said.

The new location for the substation will be "more centralized" within the HotSpots area, said Hagerstown City Police Chief Arthur Smith.

The HotSpots area is a 2-square-mile section of the city that has been targeted by a state crime-fighting program since 1997.

Smith said the Murph Avenue building will give police good visibility to the public as a crime deterrent.

Hagerstown City Police will occupy the building rent-free, but will pay utility bills, said Smith.

In addition to the substation, the HUD grant will pay for landscaping and a 4-foot-high wrought-iron fence around the 94-unit housing development.

The fence will block the path of people trying to use Bethel Gardens as a shortcut, said Dotson.

Landscaping will be added to beautify the area and give residents a sense of pride in their community.

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