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Council OKs YMCA annexation

January 16, 2002

Council OKs YMCA annexation



By DAN KULIN

dank@herald-mail.com

After meeting with Hagerstown YMCA officials Tuesday, the Hagerstown City Council agreed to support the annexation of 28 acres along Eastern Boulevard where the Richard A. Henson Family YMCA sits.

The council will vote on the annexation on Jan. 29.

Last month, the council postponed a vote on the YMCA's annexation request after council members said they wanted to meet with YMCA officials before voting.

Councilman Lewis C. Metzner said Tuesday that he has gotten past his concerns with the YMCA's new location. But Metzner said a traffic light should be installed in front of the new facility.

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"It's an accident waiting to happen," Metzner said.

City Planning Director Ric Kautz said the Washington County government oversees the road in front of the new YMCA.

Until late last year, YMCA activities were primarily held at the Potomac Street building in downtown Hagerstown.

Metzner said in the past he was critical of the YMCA's decision not to move to the city's Fairgrounds Park. He said he also worried that children would have a hard time getting to the new YMCA building. He said now that there is a bus stop in front of the facility, he is no longer concerned.

Councilwoman Penny May Nigh said she has a "big problem" with the YMCA using the soccer fields at the fairgrounds but having its facility elsewhere. She asked if the YMCA needs to use the fields at the fairgrounds.

YMCA Executive Director Michael Flicek said the YMCA needs the fairgrounds' fields, which the YMCA maintains, as well as the many other fields in the area used for YMCA programs.

Councilman Kristin B. Aleshire said if the YMCA is annexed, it would pay lower water and sewer rates. He asked if there would be any other financial benefits for the YMCA.

Flicek said there probably would be, such as grants from the city.

Councilman N. Linn Hendershot asked whether YMCA officials would be willing to work with other nonprofit groups on programs for senior citizens.

Flicek said they would.

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