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Parking deck's funding denied

December 19, 2003|by LAURA ERNDE

laurae@herald-mail.com

State money is not available for a second parking deck in downtown Hagerstown, lawmakers told the Hagerstown City Council on Thursday.

But as a consolation, Sen. Donald F. Munson said he's planning to seek a state grant to help develop a School for the Arts, which also would be within the downtown Arts and Entertainment District.

The state does not help municipalities finance parking decks, said Munson, R-Washington.

Hagerstown has proposed a 202-space parking deck be built across from The Maryland Theatre.

City officials are asking the Washington County Commissioners for $600,000 toward the $2.3 million project, County Administrator Rodney Shoop said.

The request will be debated this winter as part of the proposed Capital Improvement Project budget, he said.

Councilman Lewis Metzner thanked Munson for his support, even though no money from the state is forthcoming.

"In this case, the political support is probably as important as the money," Metzner said.

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The proposed School for the Arts would be in the former Henry's Theater building, which was donated to the city by Hagerstown property owner Vincent Groh.

The city is getting a $20,000 state grant to go toward a $100,000 feasibility study for the proposed magnet school.

Munson said a private nonprofit art agency would have to run the arts school, possibly as a charter school.

"That's going to bring hundreds of kids downtown to do arty stuff," he said.

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