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County contributes to city parking deck

February 18, 2004|by TARA REILLY

tarar@herald-mail.com

In a close vote, the Washington County Commissioners on Tuesday gave the city of Hagerstown's plan for a new parking deck a push forward.

The County Commissioners voted 3-2 to contribute $600,000 toward the $2.4 million, five-level deck planned for downtown Hagerstown.

"Thank you very much. That's good news," Hagerstown Mayor William M. Breichner said to Commissioners President Gregory I. Snook in a joint meeting with the Hagerstown City Council and the commissioners Tuesday night.

City Councilman Lewis C. Metzner thanked the commissioners for their cooperation.

Commissioners Vice President William J. Wivell and Commissioner John C. Munson opposed giving the city the money.

Wivell said he thought the commissioners should have waited until they finished reviewing the county's construction budget before they decided on the $600,000. He said he thought the commissioners should have spent more time looking at other ways to come up with the money.

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"I didn't see approving it today so we could go down to City Hall to strut our feathers," Wivell said.

Snook sided with commissioners Doris J. Nipps and James F. Kercheval in supporting the contribution.

The county will give the $600,000 to the city in two payments by allocating $300,000 in fiscal year 2005, which begins on July 1, and the remaining $300,000 in fiscal year 2006.

"It's about time that we step up to the plate and do something," Nipps said. "I believe we have a responsibility to downtown Hagerstown."

"If you're going to get downtown jump-started, you got to be aggressive," Kercheval said.

The 202-space deck is to be behind the former Tri-State Electric, Walker and Double T properties on South Potomac Street. It primarily would serve the Arts and Entertainment District and the University System of Maryland Hagerstown Education Center.

Bowman Development Corp. plans to restore and renovate the buildings in front of the planned deck. The buildings would include offices, a restaurant and a coffee shop.

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