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Group looks for support in museum project

July 26, 2004|by BRIAN SHAPPELL

shappell@herald-mail.com

SHARPSBURG - Like a famous athlete promising a win in a playoff game or calling a home run just before hitting it, Denise Troxell guarantees the work and money poured into the railroad museum near Sharpsburg will not go to waste despite a funding shortfall.

In order to make that happen, she said she'll likely need some more dedicated team members in the form of volunteers for Hagerstown Model Railroad Museum Inc.

Troxell, the museum's vice president and a former Sharpsburg councilwoman, said close to $30,000 in money or services still needs to be raised to complete the museum. The museum project, which is slated to cost an estimated $160,000, exceeded its original budget and failed to receive additional financial support from the Sharpsburg Town Council in early June.

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"It was a big disappointment that they couldn't support us more, but we will get this project finished. I know we will," Troxell said.

Troxell said the organization is hoping to make up a large portion of its deficit through applying for additional grants with the help of state officials, soliciting additional donations from business and service organizations, and having much of the remaining done by volunteers instead of paid contractors.

Troxell said the museum will try to rely on volunteers for painting because it is, by far, the largest remaining budgeted cost for the project.

"We can't do all of the painting ourselves with our older members," she said. "But if we get more volunteers, we may be able to save most of that $10,000."

Troxell said the group also is trying to solicit volunteers to help with drywall finishing, some carpentry work and a small amount of parking lot grading.

The group has used its savings and most of its grant money, but still needs money to finish restoring the former Antietam Station west of Sharpsburg into a museum, Troxell has said. That does not include the cost of state-mandated fencing because the group has applied for that money through a Gaming Commission grant, Troxell said.

Delays and other circumstances beyond the group's control have caused the project's cost to be far more than original estimates.

Troxell said Sunday those circumstance included higher-than-expected engineering fees and more than $15,000 in repairs for flooring and supports that were severely damaged by termites.

Still, Troxell said the group will find a way for the long-delayed museum to open, though it is unknown when that will occur.

"That's been the $10,000 question all along, but we're still really hoping to have some sort of grand opening over the holidays. We'll see," she said.

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