Hagerstown briefs

March 23, 2005

Developer gets more time to find partner

The Frederick attorney who received approval to redevelop an empty building in downtown Hagerstown narrowly received a last-minute extension Tuesday to find another partner in his project.

Stephen Glessner and his former partner were given the go-ahead last March to renovate the Tusing Warehouse, which sits on the city's central parking lot. Glessner has submitted plans to put a restaurant on the top floor, a food court on the main floor and office or more food service space in the basement.

Glessner's partner recently pulled out of the business, causing the bank to withdraw its loan offer, Glessner said Tuesday before the City Council. He asked for a two-week extension to solidify his loan options, although he said he has found new investors to back his plan.

Councilmen Lewis C. Metzner and N. Linn Hendershot pushed for immediate change of course to use the building for city events, but council members Kristin B. Aleshire, Penny M. Nigh and Carol N. Moller favored the extension.

Willie Mays Way may become permanent

Baseball great Willie Mays' name might remain permanently attached to a city street, even though a previous attempt to do so didn't receive City Council approval.

Street signs that say "Willie Mays Way" mark the stretch of East Memorial Boulevard between South Potomac Street and Eastern Boulevard.

The council made the temporary name designation in recognition of Mays' August return to Hagerstown, five decades after he played baseball in the city under a shadow of Jim Crow laws.

The council took up the measure at its Feb. 8 meeting, but the council had concerns over the changing of permanent addresses for businesses along the road, as well as the permanency of Municipal Stadium.

Some of the same concerns arose in Tuesday's council work session, but this time officials asked the request to be sent to businesses along the stretch of road that the name change could affect. There are no residences along that part of the road.

Hagerstown to join in disaster plan

In response to a 2000 federal act, the city will join other local governments in a plan to better prepare for hazards and disasters.

The so-called Multi-Jurisdictional Hazard Mitigation Plan was the result of discussions last year between county officials and representatives from the city and other towns in the county, said Stuart Bass, comprehensive planner for the City of Hagerstown at Tuesday's City Council work session.

The plan includes standards for building safety and land use, and has been reviewed by federal and state emergency agencies, Bass said.

The plan must be adopted by the city if it wants to be eligible for federal disaster money in the future.

Museum official presents garden plans

A Washington County Museum of Fine Arts official presented Tuesday to the mayor and council plans to install a garden at the museum inside Hagerstown City Park.

The City Engineer's Office recently completed a costly renovation to park facilities, including replacing lake walls and installing new walkways and staircases near the museum.

Museum officials said the new garden would complement the city's park upgrades, but the engineer's office is concerned that the museum official's proposals might interfere with foot traffic plans.

Councilman N. Linn Hendershot also raised concerns over materials planned to be used for a foot path. He said a gravel path would be difficult for seniors and the disabled to navigate.

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