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Local bond bills pass

April 09, 2001

Local bond bills pass



By LAURA ERNDE

laurae@herald-mail.com

Four Washington County community projects will get a combined $1 million in state grants this year.

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The grants are part of a $24.5 million bond bill package approved by the Maryland General Assembly on Monday, the last day of the 2001 session.

"We did really well. In terms of bond bills, this is a very successful year," said Sen. Donald F. Munson, R-Washington.

The local grants are:

- $470,000 for Washington County Health Systems Inc. to finish renovations at its Walnut Street Community Health Center in Hagerstown. The third floor of the health center will be used for a mental health treatment center.

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- $300,000 for the American Red Cross of Washington County to build a new headquarters off Eastern Boulevard in Hagerstown. The organization may seek another grant next year to help finish the $2 million project, said Executive Director Julie Barr-Strasburg.

- $235,000 for the city of Hagerstown to develop an arts and entertainment district downtown. The grant is to be matched by the city and county governments.

Munson gave credit to Del. Robert A. McKee and Del. Christopher B. Shank, both R-Washington, for suggesting the arts and entertainment grant.

"In particular, the arts and entertainment district was a delegation initiative. No locals were taking the initiative to jump-start that project," Munson said.

- $25,000 for Discovery Station Inc. to build a children's interactive science center in Hagerstown.

Discovery Station backers were pleased, even though they had originally asked for $375,000, said Treasurer David Barnhart.

"We're greatly appreciative of all the efforts of the delegation to see to it we got $25,000," he said.

The grant will help boost a fund-raising campaign that began recently, he said.

Washington County ended up getting more bond bill money than its larger neighbor, Frederick County, which got $450,000 for three projects - the American Red Cross, House Hospice and the Weinberg Center.

Sen. Alex X. Mooney, R-Frederick/Washington, had complained that Frederick County's portion was unfair retaliation for voting against the state's $21 billion operating budget.

"That's the way it was going to be. You vote for the budget, you get a little credit," said Munson, who was on the conference committee that approved the final list of grants.

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