Teens' wish list for Hagerstown

New York has the Statue of Liberty; Frederick, Md., has Carroll Creek Linear Park. What does Hagerstown have?

New York has the Statue of Liberty; Frederick, Md., has Carroll Creek Linear Park. What does Hagerstown have?

October 30, 2007|By JESSI FULTON / Pulse Correspondent

Imagine, as you walk through downtown Hagerstown, that you see houses with crisp white and blue colors, buildings with columns modeled after the Parthenon and gardens instead of vacant parking lots.

People like cities that stand out from other cities - New York's tall buildings and international residents; San Francisco's multicolored, Victorian houses and street cars; Chicago's elevated subway and lakefront park; Washington, D.C.'s monuments and public parks.

Also, some cities have geology on their side: Denver and the Rocky Mountains, Seattle and Puget Sound, Ocean City and the Atlantic Ocean, Baltimore and the Inner Harbor. So what buildings and geological features make Hagerstown unique?

Maryland was originally considered one of the Southern states, so I think a lot of the architecture should still have an older, Southern feel to it. Combine the classic style of Southern charm with a bit of Greek influence, like Thomas Jefferson did at his home, Monticello, or George Washington did at his home, Mount Vernon. I think this would make Hagerstown more exciting and visually integrated.


I'd like to see more shops selling hand-made crafts and make-it-yourself places, so people can interact.

As for malls and hotels, more is not better. I would like to have one main mall that has not only well-known brand names, but also funky, new or unique shops.

I think we have plenty of cheap motels. I think the city should just stop building them.

One thing we do need more of is trees. For example, Japanese tree lilacs can withstand auto exhaust in cities and along highways. Maybe we could plant similar trees along our roads and add more color to the downtown area.

It would be nice to have less country-cooking meals and more slimming types of restaurants. Sometimes I feel drowned in a sea of fast food chains and deep fried meat. "It would be nice if they took away, like, five of the McDonald's around here," I overheard one Hagerstown resident say.

I also want to say that more schools with different options would be great, and maybe a four-year college or university.

And lastly, to attract tourists, I think a free, open-studio art building would be nice. People could go paint, sketch, watercolor, and even make sculpture.

If there were an art building, I think more teens and children would spend their days being productive instead of wasting time.

These ideas would be hardly easy to make true, but I believe these additions could help develop Hagerstown into a more cutting edge, beautiful city.

To make Hagerstown cool, think outside the little box ...

Bethany Ferguson, 15, Boonsboro

Teen-friendly restaurants with ethnic foods and a teen vibe would be nice to see. A place for bands to play and people to watch and eat. Also shops, vintage clothing, jewelry, coffee and tea shops, a book store and a dance club.

Eva Niessner, 14, Hagerstown

I love that the town of Eldersburg, Md., has so many resturants that aren't big chains - just little pizza places or ethnic things. I know Hagerstown has a few, but Eldersburg put more value and emphasis on theirs.

Brigitte Grewe, 13, Hagerstown

Hagerstown will be cool when it has cool restaurants for teens, an amusement park, a mall with more stores, ethnic restaurants, a Sonic drive-in, a boardwalk with a beach like Ocean City's.

Danielle Higgins, 17, Hagerstown

Downtown Hagerstown needs small stores like clothing shops such as Vibrant Artwear and Velvet Lounge in Frederick, coffee shops that are good places to hang out, all-ages clubs like in Europe, record stores and lighting on trees.

Teresa Gilbert, 17, Hagerstown

What would make Hagerstown more attractive would be more cafs and bookstores (maybe combined), a dance club, hang-out spots, shops that cater to youths, more lights on the streets and cool, little decorations.

Dylan Thackston, 16, Smithsburg

One of the biggest details I see missing is visionary beauty. Frederick, for example, has artwork painted on the side of some of its buildings. And they've done a new visual trick and put 6-foot-tall keys all throughout the city, all of them painted differently. It's really neat. See I think that's how Hagers-town should be thinking. If people in the city can walk out of their houses and be happy with what they see, maybe some of the bigger problems might fix themselves.

Kacey Keith, 13, Hagerstown

Things that would actually make Hagerstown cool include cute, trendy, unique and affordable little shops; a concert hall; a parent-friendly place where teens can go dance and have fun; a beach and boardwalk with boardwalk fries; and a cheesy world record, like the world's biggest ball of yarn.

Laura Bell, 16, Hagerstown

What downtown Hagerstown needs is longer hours. There are already a lot of fun places to hang out and visit downtown. The problem is that everything closes down around 4 p.m. Teenagers and working adults don't get the chance to see any of these places because they don't get home until 4 p.m. or later.

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