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City to take open space comments

August 05, 2003|by SCOTT BUTKI

scottb@herald-mail.com

The public will get a chance to make suggestions about the logistics of the design for an open space area adjacent to the University System of Maryland Hagerstown Education Center at an upcoming meeting, City of Hagerstown officials said Monday.

The campus is scheduled to open in January 2005, system spokesman Chris Hart said Monday.

Washington County business leaders proposed the open space plan in 2000 to complement the University System of Maryland's renovation of the Baldwin House complex on Washington Street.

A consultant working with the city on the project will meet earlier on Aug. 28 with officials from the city and state and others involved or affected by the work, City Engineer Rodney Tissue said.

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The consultant, Mahan Rykiel Associates of Baltimore, then will compile that information so it can be shared with the public at the meeting from 4 to 6 p.m., she said.

Tissue said the consultant will show the public sketches of possible scenarios and people can say "I like this idea" or "I don't like that idea."

"We want everyone to have input," he said.

The hope is that on that day the city, with the community's help, will be able to prioritize what they want in the open space area, Planning Director Kathleen Maher said.

As part of the city's earlier open space plan, five buildings would be demolished, and a park, decorative pavement and landscaping will replace the buildings to be demolished.

Since a former version of the proposal also included a 153-space parking lot, that probably will be discussed and considered, she said.

The city also may talk about altering alleyways, such as by adding lights, to make them more pedestrian-friendly, she sad.

The city has grants and approval for a contractor to demolish the former McCrory's building and the former Grand Piano building, Tissue said.

The demolitions have not yet been done because of hurdles that have arisen with adjoining property owners, he said.

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