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Residents have definite ideas on priorities

March 08, 2006|by DANIEL J. SERNOVITZ

HAGERSTOWN

Some Hagerstown residents believe there is room for improvement in the areas of affordable housing, business recruitment and safe places for children to go.

"I think they need to concentrate more on the people, the less-fortunate here in Hagerstown," said Andre Grant, one of several Hagerstown residents polled before the annual State of the City program Tuesday morning.

Grant, a North End resident who was laid off from First Data Merchant Services last September, said he believes the city should do more to attract employers to the area.

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"They should try to, if they can, bring skilled businesses in, skilled labor," he said.

Grant said he would like to see more places for children to go and more learning opportunities for them such as cooperative programs with the Washington County Free Library. Grant said he believes the city should seek to slow the pace of development in the city until its impact on things like roads can be handled.

Connie Goad, a West Church Street resident, said she believes taking care of the homeless and low-income residents in the city should be a priority, though she feels organizations such as the Community Action Council and REACH are helping with the issue.

"There's more homeless, there's more people in the streets, there's more crime," said Goad, who recently returned to the city after several years. "I'd like to see them take the abandoned buildings and turn them into homes people can afford."

Jenna Feral, a Broadway resident who recently moved to the area, said she believes the city should provide more positive places for children to go.

Frederick Street resident Justin Nesiba agreed.

"We just get in our car and go to Frederick," said Nesiba, who believes there should be more offfered for the city's teenage population.

West End resident Kelly Sullivan said she sees some positive things happening in the city, including new stores and job opportunities, though she would like to see more low-income housing and more efforts to minimize drugs and property tax increases.

North End resident Jan Hiett said he is encouraged with some of the things going on in the city, including the recent appointment of Robert E. Bruchey II as mayor. Hiett said, "the City of Hagerstown is, in my opinion, a pretty vibrant place, considering other cities around us."

West End resident Thomas Young Sr. said he likes the efforts to clean up some of the blighted areas of Hagerstown and to plant more trees, but he wants to see officials provide more affordable housing and to work more closely with Washington County officials.

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