Mayor Bob Bruchey touted the redevelopment of downtown Hagerstown as a sign of the city's success in 2006, and floated a few ideas for continued development in his "State of the City" address to the Hagerstown-Washington County Chamber of Commerce this morning.
That he gave the annual address at a downtown venue - Duffy's on Potomac - rather than in a ballroom of one of the city's outlying hotels was symbolic. Bruchey told the group that private investments in the downtown area proved to be "a catalyst for new businesses," he said, noting that 18 new businesses had opened in 2006.
In 2006, he said, private developers invested more than $19 million in downtown building acquisitions, compared to $6.9 million in 2005.
Additionally, the number of new dwelling units in the city had soared in 2005, though it dipped in 2006. "Despite the market slowdown, the permit activity in 2006 was still more than double the volume of 2003," Bruchey said.