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Park plan gets preliminary OK

January 07, 2004|by SCOTT BUTKI

scottb@herald-mail.com

The Hagerstown City Council on Tuesday gave preliminary approval to a concept plan for Baldwin Park, the planned open space area adjacent to the University System of Maryland Hagerstown Education Center.

The Greater Hagerstown Committee proposed the open space plan in 2000 to complement the education center that is to go into the Baldwin House complex on Washington Street when renovations there are complete.

Mahan Rykiel Associates of Baltimore last month presented a concept plan for the 170-foot-by-250-foot area to representatives of the University System, the City of Hagerstown, the Greater Hagerstown Committee and others.

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Representatives of the Greater Hagerstown Committee and the city have praised the concept plan for the park, which could include a fountain and a statue.

The city has a $73,740 grant-funded contract with the landscape architects to design Baldwin Park.

Scott J. Rykiel, vice president of the firm, presented the concept plan to the council during Tuesday's work session.

The consultant suggested the park's gates be locked late at night but Councilman Kristin B. Aleshire and Mayor William M. Breichner expressed opposition to that idea.

There is not enough downtown crime to warrant locking the gate at night, Breichner said.

"I would rather give the public the benefit of the doubt," Aleshire said.

The park also might be the site of a 9/11 memorial or a wall of honor of Hagerstown achievements, or both.

Musical performances and other types of entertainment could be held at the park, Rykiel said.

The Baldwin Park name is temporary until a permanent name is chosen, City Engineer Rodney Tissue said.

The Baldwin House was built in 1881 by five local investors, including C. Columbus Baldwin, Tissue said. The building appears to be the oldest standing hotel in Hagerstown, he said.

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