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Downtown Live gets city support

June 20, 2007|by DAN DEARTH

HAGERSTOWN - The Hagerstown City Council gave developer Mike Deming its blessing Tuesday to hold a party Oct. 20 in downtown Hagerstown.

Councilwoman Penny M. Nigh cast the only dissenting vote.

During past City Council work sessions, Nigh said she opposed the event - known as Downtown Live - for several reasons, particularly closing Public Square to traffic during the event.

By closing the streets, emergency vehicles would have a more difficult time responding to emergencies, she said.

On Tuesday, she didn't revisit the safety issue, but mentioned something that was said at a council meeting in May.

At that meeting, Brian Sullivan, executive director of The Maryland Theatre, said Deming donated $5,000 to the theater using proceeds from last year's party.

Nigh suggested that the money wasn't a gift, but a payback to the theater for signing for the liquor license to hold last year's event.

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Although Councilwoman Alesia Parson-McBean voted in Deming's favor, she said she would like to see the hours of the event reduced.

The ordinance allows the party to be held from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Neither Deming nor a handful of downtown business owners attended the meeting to join the discussion.

As recently as last week, some business owners told the council that they opposed Downtown Live because it was nothing but a drunken festival.

Valerie Minteer, owner of Bones & Cones Dessertery at 2 S. Potomac St., told Mayor Robert E. Bruchey II after last Tuesday's City Council work session that he put the interests of developers before the interests of established downtown business owners.

She said a private developer shouldn't be allowed to block off some of the city's streets for a day to turn a profit.

Downtown attorney Charles R. Stewart said at a council meeting several weeks ago that he would consider taking legal action to stop the event.

He could not be reached for comment Tuesday night.




How they voted



Martin Brubaker Yes

Kelly S. Cromer Yes

Lewis C. Metzner Yes

Penny M. Nigh No

Alesia Parson-McBean Yes

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