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City's parking deck plan would close adult book, video store

February 16, 2005|by GREGORY T. SIMMONS

gregs@herald-mail.com

Hagerstown city officials on Tuesday approved an agreement that eventually will close a long-standing adult book and video store on East Washington Street to make room for an alley entrance to the parking deck that is set for completion this year.

The Video Store, at 23 E. Washington St., holds a lease in a building that is being purchased by Bowman 2000 LLC, part of The Bowman Group, which is orchestrating a project on South Potomac Street in conjunction with the city to make room for new residential, restaurant and office space.

The City of Hagerstown is to build a five-story parking deck near Bowman's buildings. That construction is set to begin next month, said City Engineer Rodney Tissue at Tuesday's City Council work session.

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Tissue also presented new details about the parking deck's security and design.

The agreement concerns Bowman 2000's purchase of two buildings at 23 and 25-27 E. Washington St. The council voted 4-1 to approve the agreement. Councilwoman Penny M. Nigh opposed the measure.

Under the agreement, Bowman will buy the properties for $550,000, but the city will reimburse Bowman $240,000 for the purchase of 23 E. Washington St. The city will pay part of that immediately, and part in three months.

Once the lease for The Video Store expires, or if the store leaves before then, the building will be demolished. The lease is set to expire on Dec. 31, 2008.

The cost of the demolition is estimated at $50,000, City Economic Development Director Debbie Everhart said. According to city information, the cost will be shared by the city and the Hagerstown-Washington County Industrial Foundation Inc., also known as CHIEF.

Once the building is demolished, the land will be used to widen the alley between 23 E. Washington St. and the building occupied by NBC-25, according to city information. A small plaza will be built on the site.

Tissue told the council that there will be several security measures in the building.

Tissue said 29 cameras would be installed in the building, including five on each level, and several more outside and one on the elevator.

The stairs will not be enclosed to give deck customers more visibility, and there will be police phones on each floor, Tissue said.

In response to a question from Councilman N. Linn Hendershot, Tissue said there possibly would be three spaces for vehicles taller than 7 feet, which includes the types that transport the handicapped.

The parking deck construction costs rose last year to an approximate $3.1 million after engineers discovered the land where it was to be built was too soft, and had to incorporate a more expensive design.

The city is relying on $900,000 from the Washington County Commissioners to pay for the deck construction. The commissioners, who also heard Tissue's presentation Tuesday, have so far approved $600,000 for the project. The final $300,000 request is being considered in the budget under consideration.

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