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Hancock resident to develop arts center

January 16, 2004

HANCOCK - Hancock resident Sinclair Hamilton plans to renovate the deteriorating Taney House near the C&O Canal and convert it into an arts and crafts center where children and adults can participate in classes and workshops, Hamilton told the Town Council on Wednesday night.

The council decided to sell the historic property, which was built in the 1800s, to Hamilton.

Hamilton said the renovated building would benefit the town by bringing more people to Hancock and increase the tax base.

"I've always thought it's a shame that there's so many empty buildings and storefronts in Hancock," Hamilton said.

Hamilton, an artist, said Hancock and Berkeley Springs, W.Va., residents have asked him if he would be interested in teaching art in town.

He said the Taney House might include a gallery, space where visiting artists and instructors can stay and room for the Hancock Arts Council to hold events.

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Murphy said Hamilton has renovated the old People's Bank building, where he lives.

Several town residents spoke in favor of Hamilton's proposal for the Taney House, saying they liked the work he did on the former bank building.

Hamilton said that before he renovated the bank building it had "no waterproofing on the roof, had mushrooms growing out of the floor and frogs living in the basement."

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