Hagerstown briefs

September 22, 2004|by GREGORY T. SIMMONS

City spent millions in federal grant money

The City of Hagerstown spent $2,373,667 in federal grant money and income from programs those grants supported between July 1, 2003, and June 30, 2004, according to a recent report.

The analysis was of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's Community Development Block Grant program.

Of the city's expenditures, $1,822,329 was spent on "directly benefiting low and moderate income persons."

The federal money and income from its programs spent by the city helped to establish the Hagerstown Neighborhood Development Partnership - which will create moderate and upscale housing on East Baltimore Street - buy homes, refurbish them and sell them at reduced prices; assist charitable organizations; and pay for public improvements.

The full report is open for public comment at the City Community Development Department.

Wastewater plant fared well in storms

Although storms related to the remnants of Hurricane Ivan dumped heavy rains over the weekend, the City of Hagerstown's embattled Waste Water Treatment Plant did not release any water that was not disinfected.


City Water and Sewer Department Manager David Shindle credited several improvements in response to problems in August.

Shindle said that while daily sewage plant flows reached 22 million gallons per day at points over the weekend - the plant is rated to handle flows of 8 million gallons per day - the plant did not violate its state sewage release permit.

Due to electric failures, system leaks and capacity problems, the city's sewage plant released hundreds of thousands of gallons of water that had not been disinfected several times over the past two years. Each such release is a permit violation that could cost the city $10,000 in fines.

In August, the city repaired failing electric equipment and installed mobile pumps and generators. More work is scheduled for this year and next.

Costs outlined for July 4 celebration

Next year's Fourth of July celebration at Hagerstown's Fairgrounds Park is expected to cost $34,150, city officials said Tuesday.

The money includes $13,000 for fireworks; $6,000 for entertainment; $5,700 for advertising, lodging for entertainers and other items; and $9,450 for city services.

City spokeswoman Karen Giffin said Tuesday the cost is slightly less than this year because the event will be two hours shorter, beginning at 6 p.m. instead of 4 p.m.

Memorial for 9/11 victims approved

The City Council on Tuesday approved the placement in City Hall of a permanent memorial to the victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

City Councilwoman Penny M. Nigh recently asked the city administration to look into the possibility. According to a letter dated last week from city spokeswoman Karen Giffin, Nigh has offered to pay for the display, which would include a display case in the first-floor billing area of City Hall.

Council to consider buying two buildings

The City Council voted Tuesday to introduce two ordinances that would authorize the city to buy two buildings on North Mulberry and South Mulberry streets, refurbish them and sell them.

The council is scheduled to take a final vote on the ordinances next week. The city would pay $49,000 for the property at 645 N. Mulberry St., and $45,000 for the property at 317 S. Mulberry St.

Loan to nonprofit group is considered

The City Council gave preliminary approval Tuesday to loaning a nonprofit group $160,000 needed to finish the refurbishing of the former Cannon Shoe Factory on West Franklin Street.

Aspiring to Serve, a nonprofit group formed by Christ Reformed Church in Hagerstown, has been refurbishing the factory and has spent about $2 million on the project so far, officials said at Tuesday's council work session.

The old factory will be home to several social service agencies, and may house other businesses and apartments when complete, said Al Boyer, who represented the nonprofit group at the work session.

Zoning proposal faces amendments

The City Council sent back a new zoning proposal for more amendments before it comes before the council next week for a vote.

The zoning ordinance would allow some buildings in certain areas of the city to contain both businesses and homes. The plan has been criticized by Councilman Kristin B. Aleshire, who said he believes it would create unwanted competition with downtown redevelopment.

Aleshire said Tuesday he hoped the new type of building would only be allowed in areas currently zoned only for residential uses.

The areas likely to be affected by the proposal would be near city limits along Dual Highway, Mayor William M. Breichner said after the meeting.

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