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Hagerstown briefs

October 18, 2006

Conflict Resolution Day proclaimed

HAGERSTOWN - Hagerstown Mayor Robert E. Bruchey II has proclaimed Oct. 19 Conflict Resolution Day in the city in accordance with the international celebration launched by the Association for Conflict Resolution.

A representative of the Washington County Community Mediation Center Inc., which is celebrating its fifth anniversary, spoke at Tuesday's city council meeting about the organization's programs and training.

Eighty-six percent of mediation is successful for long-term resolution, Executive Director Valerie Main said.

"Our services are here, and all you have to do is call," she said.

For more information about the Washington County Community Mediation Center Inc., call 301-665-9262 or go to www.wccmc.org.

Hearing slated on subdivision ordinance

HAGERSTOWN - The Hagerstown City Council is scheduled to host a public hearing regarding proposed revisions to its subdivision ordinance on Tuesday, Oct. 24.

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The hearing is scheduled during the council's 7 p.m. regular session meeting.

Ordinance changes would make a sketch plan and open space mandatory, encourage bike routes and discourage cul-de-sacs.

Council moves ahead with handicap access

HAGERSTOWN - The Hagerstown City Council on Tuesday authorized staff to prepare documents needed to enter into a license agreement with Potomac Building LLC, allowing it to construct a concrete ramp for handicapped access to the Social Services building at 122 N. Potomac St.

"They feel it would greatly enhance their ability to serve the public if they could get wheelchairs in there," Assistant City Engineer James Bender said.

The agreement is necessary because the ramp would encroach on the city's right of way, Bender wrote in a memo.

The documents are expected to be considered at the council's Oct. 24 meeting.

Street-sweeping schedule to be set

HAGERSTOWN - The City of Hagerstown's public works manager will be developing a permanent street- sweeping schedule, with select streets regularly scheduled for blocks of time on weekdays.

Signs with the schedule could be posted on affected streets by early December, Public Works Manager Eric B. Deike said.

The city currently posts "no parking" signs the day before the sweeping occurs, he said.

Wiring project put on back burner

HAGERSTOWN - Jonathan Street is set to have water, gas, sewer and stormwater lines improved in a $3.9 million project, but the Hagerstown City Council on Tuesday said it will bypass moving overhead wiring to the rear of properties for now.

"This is really a larger project than we've done for streetscapes," City Utilities Director Michael Spiker said.

The wiring move would have cost an additional $1.3 million and would have required the city to obtain right-of-entry agreements with property owners.

City staff and several council members expressed concern about the possibility of the agreements delaying the project.

"I don't think we could start the project until everyone was signed off," City Engineer Rodney A. Tissue said.

Parking options, grants discussed

HAGERSTOWN - Alternate parking options and grant guidelines factored into the Hagerstown City Council's discussion Tuesday about pedestrian enhancements for the first block in each direction of Potomac Street and outdoor dining in the first block south of Public Square.

Councilman Lewis C. Metzner said he has concerns about removing six parking spaces from South Potomac Street until the public is familiar with and has easy access to the Arts & Entertainment District parking deck.

"I think this year is premature," Metzner said.

Councilman Kristin B. Aleshire said he doesn't feel the tree replacements and planters on North Potomac Street meet the criteria for bonding.

City Engineer Rodney A. Tissue was asked to return to the council with information about grant deadlines and alternatives to the South Potomac Street parking space removal.

- Jennifer Fitch

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