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City, county could help Miss Maryland stay in Hagerstown

April 19, 2007|by DAN DEARTH

HAGERSTOWN - Organizers of The Miss Maryland Scholarship and The Miss Outstanding Teen Maryland pageants could get some rental assistance from the city and county to hold the events at The Maryland Theatre.

The City Council on Tuesday discussed entering into a five-year rental agreement with theater officials to keep the pageants in town.

Councilman Lewis C. Metzner said the events were "gems" that should stay in Hagerstown.

"I would absolutely support this," he said.

According to the contract, the fee is $30,000 to rent the theater for the pageants from June 24 to July 1.

That fee includes lights, sound, air conditioning, ushers and facility insurance, among other things.

Per the contract, the city would pay $6,000 to the pageant organizers to rent the theater. The county's share would be $14,000, according to the contract.

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Those amounts would increase $500 each year from 2008 to 2011.

John F. Barr, president of the county commissioners, said the commissioners unanimously agreed Tuesday to pay the county's share of the request.

"I know (the city and county) want to offer their assistance," Barr said.

The pageant's organizers recently told city and county officials that the pageant would have to move elsewhere unless financial assistance was provided to rent the theater, he said.

Approving the monetary support is good for Washington County as a whole, considering the pageants stimulate the local economy and generate revenue from the hotel-motel tax, Barr said.

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