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Council critical of landlord after apartment shootings

July 26, 2006|by ANDREW SCHOTZ

HAGERSTOWN - Hagerstown City Councilman Kristin B. Aleshire on Tuesday criticized the owner of a Security Road apartment complex where a New York City man was shot and killed Sunday and another was shot and critically injured.

Aleshire said he voted last year to support a tax-exempt $2.5 million state loan application so the new owner, Preservation of Affordable Housing Inc. of Boston (POAH) could renovate Washington Gardens Apartments.

But, referring to a representative of the owner, he said Tuesday, "It is very clear that that individual is failing this community and doing so from afar."

When the Hagerstown City Council voted 4-1 in June 2005 to support the loan application, POAH pledged to repair the roof, windows, heating and smoke detector systems and to improve security.

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This week, a POAH representative said security lighting and cameras will be installed soon.

Councilwoman Alesia D. Parson-McBean said at Tuesday's council meeting that crime in the city, not just the complex, is increasing. She said the owners should be held accountable for trying to do better.

Councilman Lewis C. Metzner said the city has crime problems, but a good standard of living. He said the "vast majority" of crime in the city involves people who know each other.

Councilwoman Kelly S. Cromer said she didn't want to preach about crime because it might lead to bad publicity. She encouraged a reporter to "be kind" because the city is trying to attract new residents.

She went on to say that there appears to an increase in drugs and guns at the apartment complex.

Councilwoman Penny M. Nigh, the only council member who voted against the loan application, said she favors security cameras.

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