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Vote supports McCrory razing

July 24, 2002|by TARA REILLY

tarar@herald-mail.com

In a narrow vote, the Washington County Commissioners agreed Tuesday to support the demolition of the former McCrory building in downtown Hagerstown and said the county will pay up to $300,000 if state money isn't available to fund the project.

The McCrory site at 50-56 W. Washington St. is proposed to be used to improve parking or open space around the University System of Maryland Hagerstown Education Center, according to county documents.

County Attorney Richard Douglas said the demolition project could cost as much as $600,000, with the county and city of Hagerstown each paying up to half of that amount if the state decides not to fund the project.

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Hagerstown Mayor William M. Breichner had no comment Tuesday afternoon on any possible city contribution.

The Hagerstown-Washington County Industrial Foundation Inc., known as CHIEF, has proposed buying the former McCrory building for $275,000 so it can be torn down, county officials said.

If the state doesn't come through with the money for the demolition, the city and county would reimburse CHIEF, Douglas said.

"The sole purpose of purchasing this building is to demolish it and turn it into the University System of Maryland's downtown campus," Commissioners President Gregory I. Snook said.

Commissioners Vice President Paul Swartz and Commissioner William Wivell voted against the move. They said the state already should have agreed to pay for the demolition.

"I'm disappointed that the state has not come forward to do this project," Wivell said.

"The state should have already come forth with this money," Swartz said.

Snook and commissioners John Schnebly and Bert Iseminger voted in favor of the move.

"It's another reaffirmation on our part that we're committed to this project," Iseminger said.

Classes at the university system's Hagerstown Education Center tentatively are scheduled to begin in January 2004. The center will be at the Baldwin House complex on West Washington Street. The project has a $12.4 million budget.

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