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Open Space Program funds distributed

May 16, 2003|by SCOTT BUTKI

scottb@herald-mail.com

The city of Hagerstown will get Program Open Space money for fiscal year 2004 to pay for an irrigation system at Municipal Golf Course but Hancock won't get money it requested for a planned park, the Washington County Commissioners decided Tuesday.

The county received $415,328 from the state to spend in fiscal 2003, up slightly from the $365,980 the previous year, Planning Director Robert Arch said Thursday.

Both amounts are a decrease from the $906,000 the county received for fiscal 2001. The fiscal year begins July 1.

With about $5.3 million in funding requests, the county could not fund all the projects for which Hagerstown and other municipalities sought money, Arch said.

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The county agreed to give Hancock $20,000 to upgrade two parks, but rejected a $76,000 request for a design for a proposed park next to the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal.

The proposed park would provide access to the Western Maryland Rail Trail and would include a replica of the barges that were used on the canal, Hancock Mayor Daniel Murphy said.

The town is disappointed but not surprised that it did not receive money for the project, Murphy said.

The city of Hagerstown received $135,000 to pay an underground irrigation facility for the golf course, Mayor William M. Breichner said. City requests for money for parking at Fairgrounds Park and other projects were denied.

The largest request came from the Washington County Board of Education, which sought $1.7 million for a stadium at North Hagerstown High School.

Director of Facilities Management Dennis McGee said the district knew it would not get the full amount, but thought it was worth trying to get some money.

The district will get $49,528 to resurface the school's track, he said.

The program calls for giving Boonsboro $50,000 for previously acquired land adjacent to Shafer Park.

However, the county did not fund the town's $725,499 request to pay for the first phase of the park expansion.

Boonsboro is disappointed but recognizes that funds are short this year, Town Manager John Kendall said.

Maryland counties receive Program Open Space money each year from the state to pay for the acquisition of open space land or the development of parks and recreation facilities.

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