City considers plans for grandstand

January 10, 2007|by DAN DEARTH

HAGERSTOWN - The long-term plans for renovating the grandstand at Fairgrounds Park remain undecided after a discussion Tuesday by the Hagerstown City Council.

City Engineer Rodney Tissue presented the council with a list of possible uses for the structure, including tearing out the seats and building an auditorium or banquet facility under a new roof.

The exterior, he said, would be enclosed with glass.

"The question is, 'What could be done with it?'" Tissue said.

City documents estimate that improvements would cost $7 million to $9 million.

That price doesn't include a $180,000 state grant that the city landed last year to replace the roof above the grandstand, Tissue said.

Mayor Robert E. Bruchey II and the council agreed that repairing the roof should be first on the city's list of things to do, considering the money is already there.


The mayor suggested building a venue for concerts that "20,000 people could attend."

Councilwoman Penny M. Nigh took the mayor's comments a step further, saying that holding concerts in front of the grandstand might raise money to pay for restorations.

"I don't care what anyone says," she said. "If the right marketing is done, this can bring people into the community."

A floor below the grandstand houses a skateboard rink and a garage for public vehicles.

Scott Bowen, a partner with HarneBowen Architects & Planners of Myersville, Md., the firm that city officials hired to design renovation plans, said Monday that other potential ideas for the bottom floor include constructing batting cages.

The blueprint also involves removing the grandstand seats and replacing them with two indoor basketball courts on a second floor, he said.

Everything relies on the council's final approval, he said.

Bowen said projects of this nature typically take 18 months to complete.

The council agreed to revisit the discussion during a later meeting.

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