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City OKs two agreements for hospital

December 20, 2006|by JENNIFER FITCH

A new Washington County Hospital off Robinwood Drive moved two steps closer to becoming a reality Tuesday under separate votes by the Hagerstown City Council.

Councilwoman Penny M. Nigh voted against both the agreement that calls for the Maryland State Highway Administration to improve the intersection of Dual Highway and Edgewood Drive and a flow transfer agreement with the Washington County Commissioners.

"Again, we did a fast track because of the much-anticipated new hospital," Nigh said. "Once again, the hospital got what it wanted."

Nigh referred to a "Band-Aid" fix at the intersection, with Mayor Robert E. Bruchey II later saying that "a Band-Aid on a gushing wound is better than nothing at all."

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"All the citizens are going to realize, when the hospital is out there, it is only required to do $1 million of road improvements," Nigh said, adding that taxpayers will pick up the rest of the tab.

The memorandum of understanding agreement between the City of Hagerstown, Washington County and Maryland State Highway Administration places the intersection design responsibilities on the state. Each agreed earlier this year to fund one-third of the $435,000 in design costs.

Bruchey called the flow transfer agreement an example of how well the city and county can work together.

The agreement indicates that the city will transfer 120,000 gallons per day of sewer flows to the county, which is the amount expected to be generated by the new hospital. The transfer will have no net effect on the city's allotment.

Officials said ground could be broken for the $255 million hospital next month. The 500,000-square-foot facility is expected to open in 2009.

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