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Revenue may bring movie here

March 22, 2002|B Y SCOTT BUTKI

The Washington County Board of Commissioners may spend $150,000 in hotel tax revenue to try to have another Civil War movie filmed locally, Commission President Gregory I. Snook said Tuesday.

At a County Commission meeting Tuesday, Snook said the money might be spent on an "undetermined long-term economic development project," but he mentioned the movie "The Last Full Measure" as a specific possibility.

"The Last Full Measure" is expected to be the next movie undertaken by director Ronald Maxwell. Maxwell directed "Gods and Generals," much of which was filmed in Washington County.

It is too early to say whether hotel tax money would be used to try to bring "Last Full Measure" here, or whether the money might be in the form of a loan or a grant, he said.

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The commissioners have talked with Maxwell in closed session about his next movie, Snook said. Maxwell said he would not decide where he would film his next movie until after "Gods and Generals" is completed, Snook said.

The County Commission and the Hagerstown City Council in 1997 agreed to back $300,000 of a bank loan made to Antietam Filmworks, Maxwell's movie company. In return for the help in pre-production, Maxwell agreed to film most of "Gods and Generals" in Washington County. Filming was completed in December.

Movie Producer Ronald Smith has estimated Antietam Filmworks spent $10 million to $12 million in Washington County, including almost $2 million in hotel expenses.

The county has $575,000 in hotel tax money to distribute annually. By law, the money must go to tourism attractions, to enhance economic development or to support cultural and recreational projects.

Nonprofit organizations and governments submitted more than $1 million in hotel tax money requests for 45 projects.

The county budget calls for using $300,000 of the hotel tax money to pay Hagerstown-Washington County Economic Development Commission operating revenues.

The commissioners previously committed to spending $25,000 of the hotel tax money for the 140th anniversary of the Battle of Antietam.

The commissioners Tuesday tentatively identified 12 organizations that might be in line to receive up to $100,000 in hotel tax money to: The Western Maryland Heritage Foundation, Cumberland Valley Athletic Club, Friends of Fort Frederick Inc., Corporation of Keedysville, Clear Spring Garden Club, Inc., Sharpsburg Heritage Festival Committee, Rohrersville Ruritan Club, Hagerstown Model Railroad Museum Inc., Antietam Velo Club Inc., City of Hagerstown, Washington County Free Library and Hagerstown Soccer Club, Inc.

The commissioners took no official action on the requests.

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