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Commissioners' moving plan surprises Trump

August 17, 2005|by GREGORY T. SIMMONS

HAGERSTOWN

gregs@herald-mail.com

Hagerstown Mayor Richard F. Trump expressed disappointment in public comments Tuesday over learning last week that the Washington County Commissioners are discussing plans to move their operations from buildings in downtown Hagerstown to buildings outside the city.

"We were surprised, and it isn't what builds strong relationships," Trump said in comments toward the end of the mayor and council work session.

The county officials' private discussions were revealed publicly in a report last week in The Herald-Mail. The plans under discussion would move operations from five buildings, three of which are downtown, to the former Allegheny Energy headquarters off Downsville Pike.

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Trump, who campaigned on a platform of better city-county relations, said he is working toward that.

"We would certainly appreciate, and I am trying personally to build open lines of communication, so we're not the city against the county, and we're trying to set up leadership that the (City) Council and the commissioners are communicating more."

Trump also said that the city is hoping to push urban growth toward downtown, and the county's plan would run counter to that philosophy.

However, he said, "I have confidence that the County Commissioners will be responsive as we work through this issue."

Trump said he would like to see more involvement with the so called "two-by-two" committee of two council members and two county commissioners. He also suggested the council become more involved with the private nonprofit group, the Greater Hagerstown Committee.

During her closing comments in the work session, Councilwoman Kelly S. Cromer said the council should take up the issue in a future work session.

"That is going to leave a lot of vacancies in buildings downtown," Cromer said.

After the work session adjourned, Trump was asked for further clarification of his comments, but he turned his back on a reporter and walked away, saying only that he had to prepare for the evening's executive session. Moments later, he returned to the council chambers and the closed meeting began.

A single item, a new business, was scheduled to be discussed in the executive session, which was closed to the public.

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