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Council applying for park lighting money

January 31, 2007|by DAN DEARTH

The Hagerstown City Council voted Tuesday to apply for $40,000 from the state to fund the running of electrical wires from Cleveland Avenue to Fairgrounds Park for the purpose of providing lighting at three softball fields there.

The decision overturned a consensus that was taken by the council during a work session last week, when three out of five members said they were against the proposal because the money could be put to better use elsewhere.

Councilwoman Kelly S. Cromer, who said earlier that she was against applying for the money, added the request to a list of 12 other items just before the council was ready to vote.

Cromer said if the funding is awarded from Program Open Space, the Hagerstown Fairgrounds Softball Association would have up to two years to use the money to run the electricity.

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Earlier this month, the softball association's president, Mike Kelbaugh, said the association wanted to raise $200,000 over the course of three years to install lights at the park's three softball fields.

Kelbaugh asked the city to provide $40,000 to run the electricity using Program Open Space funds.

Program Open Space is a state program that helps refurbish public parks, in part by using proceeds from the Maryland real estate transfer tax.

Junior Mason, director of Hagerstown's Parks and Recreation Department, said he will turn in the request to the Washington County Commissioners later this week for their review. A formal presentation is scheduled for March 1, he said.

If the commissioners approve, Mason said the request will go to the state for final consideration.

The city should know whether it received the money by September, he said.

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