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City hall of fame proposed

July 09, 2003|by SCOTT BUTKI

scottb@herald-mail.com

The Hagerstown City Council on Tuesday directed city staff to explore putting a hall of fame for Hagerstown residents at the entrance buildings to Fairgrounds Park.

The discussion was sparked when City Director of Administrative Services John Budesky asked the council if it wanted to move a memorial to Cpl. William Othello Wilson, a Hagerstown native who was a "Buffalo Soldier," a black man who fought during the Indian campaigns with the U.S. Army 9th Cavalry.

The memorial is currently at the "Medal of Honor Triangle" traffic island at Jonathan Street and Pennsylvania Avenue. However, that is not a site where people easily can park their cars and pay tribute, Budesky said.

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Budesky said one possible location would be Wheaton Park, but council members expressed no interest in that idea.

"Let us first ask the community," Councilwoman Penny May Nigh said. It should not be the city's decision but rather the Jonathan Street community's, she said.

But Councilman Lewis C. Metzner disagreed: "I think we need, absolutely, another location."

"This is not a celebration of a black gentleman that needs to be built in a black area of town. It is the celebration of a Hagerstown" resident, he said.

Council members discussed the possibility of keeping the memorial in the Jonathan Street area but also honoring Othello and other Hagerstown residents through a hall of fame at Fairgrounds Park.

At that location people could spend more time looking and thinking about those honored there, council members said.

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