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Plan presented for open space next to campus

December 11, 2003|by SCOTT BUTKI

scottb@herald-mail.com

A concept plan for the open space that would be adjacent to the University System of Maryland Hagerstown Education Center was presented to the Hagerstown Planning Commission during Wednesday's meeting.

The proposed 170-foot by 250-foot area next to the education center is being referred to by the city as Baldwin Park.

The Greater Hagerstown Committee proposed the open space plan in 2000 to complement the University System of Maryland's renovation of the Baldwin House complex on Washington Street.

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The city of Hagerstown has a $73,740 contract with landscape architects Mahan Rykiel Associates of Baltimore, who made the concept plan. The contract is being paid by three grants the city received, Planning Director Kathleen Maher said.

About 25 people attended an Aug. 28 public meeting aimed at getting feedback on what should be done with the property.

Speakers at that meeting told the consultant they would like the open space to not only be a place for students of the adjacent college to go but a place where others in the area can eat lunch, attend events and take part in activities.

The architects presented preliminary drawings depicting what the area could look like with permanent and moveable seating, paths, trees, grass and other amenities.

The consultant also met that day with officials from the city, the University System, Greater Hagerstown Committee and others involved in or affected by the work.

The consultant is scheduled to meet with city officials today.

During Wednesday's meeting, Comprehensive Planner Stuart W. Bass explained the concept plan and possible features of the park to the Planning Commission.

Under the concept plan, there would be an entry plaza along Washington Street, perhaps with a fountain or sculpture, Bass said.

Under the proposal, the property would be fenced so it can be secured at night, Maher said.

Using grants, the city is paying a contract to demolish the former McCrory's building and the former Grand Piano warehouse building, providing some of the land for the planned area.

C. Columbus Baldwin was one of five local investors of the Baldwin House hotel of 1881, Maher said.

Baldwin was married to a daughter of James Dixon Roman, president of the company which built the previous hotel on the site - the Washington House of 1856 - which burned in 1879, she said.

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