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Hagerstown City Council sets goals

October 15, 2003|by SCOTT BUTKI

scottb@herald-mail.com

Hagerstown City Council members reached consensus Monday that they want their legacy to be the revitalization of downtown Hagerstown.

During a goal-setting retreat at City Hall, the council first went over a proposed list of goals, many of which involved downtown projects.

But Councilman Kristin B. Aleshire questioned whether the city should hear feedback first from the departments on what the city goals should be.

Aleshire and Councilman N. Linn Hendershot said they also would like to see more goals listed that could be accomplished before the council members' terms end in May 2005.

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After council members further disagreed about the best approach to developing a list of goals, City Administrator Bruce Zimmerman offered a suggestion, which the council agreed to.

Zimmerman's suggestion was that the city do something it did about six years ago: Direct city staff to focus much of its energy on one particular area. In that past case, the city directed its attention to Fairgrounds Park, Zimmerman said.

At Monday's meeting, he told them, it sounded like the council wants staff to focus its energy on revitalizing downtown, Zimmerman said. Council members nodded.

If so, the council can direct staff to focus on improving downtown and he can return in one month with a list of proposed ways to go about doing that, Zimmerman said. The council's legacy could by trying to improve the area, he said.

Making major improvements downtown might require spending a few million dollars - perhaps financed with a bond - on projects ranging from construction of a proposed parking deck across from The Maryland Theatre to demolishing and renovating some buildings, Zimmerman said.

Council members agreed with the concept and told him to do as he suggested.

After the meeting, Mayor William M. Breichner said the city would try to find ways not only to improve the amount of commerce and retail downtown, but also to work on improving the quality of housing in the downtown area.

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