Hagerstown briefs

February 09, 2005

City to check stalled building renovations

City officials concerned about the length of time it has taken to refurbish a downtown building will take a look at a seven-year-old agreement between the city and the building owner.

The building under consideration at Tuesday's council work session is known as the Delta Hosiery building at 66-68 W. Washington St.

The City of Hagerstown bought the building for about $125,000 and around 1998 sold it to Richard McCleary for about $40,000, officials said Tuesday.

Council members on Tuesday requested a legal opinion on whether McCleary has met obligations under the agreement, and said they hoped the building would be refurbished as soon as possible.


Chief: Fire staff is selling point for city

The City of Hagerstown recently received good marks from a national insurance research group, keeping insurance rates down for private property owners, City Fire Chief Gary Hawbaker said Tuesday.

Hawbaker presented the Insurance Services Office's findings to the City Council at its Tuesday work session.

Hawbaker said the research group in 2004 studied the city's fire-suppression capabilities, including dispatch capabilities, the fire department and the city's water supply system.

"It's one of our selling points in the city," Hawbaker said. "There's actually savings on (property) insurance premiums."

Traffic concerns dominate discussion

Traffic concerns dominated a discussion Tuesday over the proposed rezoning of 28 acres along Howell Road in Hagers-town's eastern reaches.

The proposal by Strategic Resources LLC to change the zoning restrictions on the land from a light industrial restriction to a moderate residential restriction would allow up to 240 homes to be placed on the land, said Stuart Bass, the city's comprehensive planner, during Tuesday's City Council work session.

The land is part of a larger tract of generally undeveloped land known as the Harrison Tract.

Bass said Strategic Resources, the contract purchaser of the land, has not formally proposed the number of homes that would be built, but the proposed zoning change would allow single-family detached homes and town houses.

Several council members expressed concerns over traffic loads on Edgewood Drive and Dual Highway, which they said are already overloaded.

The council ultimately will decide whether the zoning changes will be made, but it will not make a decision until a public hearing has been held.

Changes proposed to park rates

City officials are recommending rate changes, some increases and some decreases, for many of the city's recreational facilities for the coming year.

Season passes at Claude M. Potterfield Pool would increase from $10 to $25 for most of the groups, including student, adult, senior and family rates. Preschool season pass rates would stay the same at $15.

Rental rates to use park pavilions or the city's band shell also would increase. The rates for pavilion use would be $50 for residents and $70 for nonresidents. The rates for the band shell would be $25 for nonprofit groups and $65 for all others.

Officials have proposed decreasing rates at the Jonathan Hager House by about $1, and introducing youth rates for greens fees at the city's nine-hole golf course

City to remove street snow more frequently

The city will begin removing more snow from downtown streets after a decision at Tuesday's City Council work session.

Councilman N. Linn Hendershot last week requested that the city consider taking more action to clear streets after snow storms. He said that while streets are passable, snow left in parking spaces is bad for downtown businesses and pedestrians.

The council decided Tuesday to have Public Works employees begin making more efforts to remove snow from streets - instead of just plowing - if there is a likelihood that temperatures won't cooperate in melting the snow. The council also asked staff to come up with ideas for more long-term solutions, including equipment and contracting costs.

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