Hagerstown City Council briefs for March 13

March 13, 2002|BY DAN KULIN /Staff Writer

City Council endorses transfer of CASA shelter

The Hagerstown City Council on Tuesday endorsed the transfer of the former CASA (Citizens Assisting and Sheltering the Abused) women's shelter in downtown to The Wells House.

The Wells House is a halfway house and drug- and alcohol-abuse treatment center for men that is currently located at 324 N. Locust St.

Wells House Executive Director Charles H. Mooneyhan said the program has outgrown the current facility. There are 17 men there now, he said.

If the program moved into the former CASA shelter at 124-126 E. Baltimore St., the program could take in two or three more men. Also, the current building would be kept and turned into a transitional home where up to eight men could go before leaving the program.


Mayor William Breichner said the council has approval authority over the transaction because CASA used a federal grant obtained through the city to purchase the property.

The council is expected to vote on the matter March 26, City Administrator Bruce Zimmerman said.

Signs are installed at Fairgrounds Park

There are now signs at Hagerstown's Fairgrounds Park to let people know the park closes earlier in the colder months, Recreation Department Manager Douglas Stull said Tuesday.

The park is open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. from April through September, and from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. the rest of the year, Stull said.

The council asked for clarification of the park hours after Councilman Kristin Aleshire and a person that Councilwoman Carol Moller knows were almost locked in the park at around 6 p.m. in recent weeks.

Stull said the park is closed to vehicles at night because while the park was under construction some people drove vehicles on the fields.

Surveillance cameras are sought for park

A neighborhood watch group is hoping to put surveillance cameras at Hagerstown's Fairgrounds Park, Councilwoman Penny May Nigh said Tuesday.

Nigh is a member of the watch group and lives near the fairgrounds.

She said the group is seeking a $5,000 grant from the Washington County government to pay for the cameras.

Grant may help cover enforcement expenses

A federal grant could soon be paying for another Hagerstown property maintenance code enforcement officer, as well as some of the existing code enforcement expenses.

The City Council on Tuesday supported a plan to use about $110,000 of the federal Community Development Block Grant money given to the city to help pay for code enforcement expenses.

The money would be used to hire a fourth code enforcement officer, and pay a portion of the salaries of two existing code enforcement officers. Some of the money would also be used to buy a vehicle and other equipment for the new code enforcement officer, according to a proposal from City Chief Code Enforcement Officer John Lestitian.

Using a federal grant to pay for some code enforcement expenses would save the city's general fund about $41,000 next fiscal year, Lestitian said.

The city's general fund is the only city fund that receives money from property taxes.

City Administrator Bruce Zimmerman said the plan will be included in the proposed budget for next fiscal year, which begins July 1.

Government will receive donations to association

The Hagerstown City Council on Tuesday OK'd a request from the Sister City Association to have the city government serve as the recipient of donations to the association.

The association is celebrating the 50th anniversary of Hagers-town's sister city affiliation with Wesel, Germany, this year.

A group from Hagerstown, including Mayor William Breichner, is expected to go to Wesel in June, association President Connie Lenhart said.

A group of Wesel residents are expected to visit Hagerstown in October, she said.

While the Wesel group is here, they will go to a symphony concert and attend dinners and a reception. Lenhart said the association hopes to raise money to cover the cost of those events.

Having the city be the official recipient of those donations means those contributions would be tax-deductible, she said.

- Dan Kulin

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