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Most favor renovating grandstand

January 15, 2007|by ERIN CUNNINGHAM

HAGERSTOWN - Most adults at Hagerstown's Fairgrounds Park on Sunday said they are in favor of a proposal to renovate the grandstand.

Many of the youths there said they either were unaware of the plans or didn't care, even after being told that batting cages and indoor basketball courts could be part of the project.

The proposed renovation of the grandstand includes removing the seats, enclosing the structure and building basketball courts and batting cages inside, officials have said.

The cost of the project has been estimated at $7 million to $9 million.

"I think it'd be great," said Jamie Harbaugh, 48, of Hagerstown.

Harbaugh said he lives just a few blocks from the park and walks there almost daily.

"They've done so well with the rest of the park," he said. "The (grandstand) is really an eyesore, actually."

He said he likes the idea of batting cages and basketball courts, and he said anything that area children can use would be an idea he would support. He supports anything that would bring more activities to the park, he said.

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Jim South, 49, of Hagerstown, said he walks a few miles at the park three or four times each week and likes the idea of renovating the grandstand.

"I think it's a good idea to improve the quality," he said.

During a Hagerstown City Council work session last week, Councilwoman Penny M. Nigh suggested holding concerts in front of the grandstand to help raise money for restorations.

South said that holding concerts there would be a good idea and could draw a crowd.

"I'd like to see it all be put to more use," South said. "It's a nice place."

The facility houses a skateboard rink and a garage for city vehicles in the basement. The grandstand that once overlooked a horse racing track hasn't been used for years.

Justin Henderson, 15, of Frederick, Md., said he has been to the park a few times. He was playing basketball Sunday.

He said he would most likely use indoor basketball courts if they were at the park, but he was not interested in batting cages.

Gene and Angie Manon of Hagerstown said the price tag for the multi-million dollar project might not be worth it.

"It's an awful lot of expense for the entertainment value of a few people," Angie Manon said.

The pair were walking two dogs in the park Sunday.

Gene Manon agreed with South, saying he would like to see concerts at the park. He said that he sees basketball courts all over town that are not used and questioned whether indoor courts at the grandstand would be used.

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