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Hagerstown Council to vote on downtown incentive plan

February 26, 2008|By DAN DEARTH

The Hagerstown City Council is to vote tonight on whether to increase financial incentives to renters and home buyers in an effort to stimulate residential growth downtown.

City Community Development Manager Larry Bayer said if the council approves, the amount that the city would offer to downtown renters as part of the Downtown Residency Initiative would increase from $100 to $150 a month.

The amount that could be borrowed to purchase a home would increase from $1,500 to $2,500 on homes selling for $150,000 or less, and from $1,500 to $5,000 on homes selling from $150,001 to $250,000, he said.

Residents would have to live in the property for at least three years for the $2,500 loan to be forgiven, Bayer said. The residency requirement would increase to five years for the city to forgive the $5,000 loan.

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He said a person may receive the incentives regardless of income.

Bayer said the proposal was introduced earlier this year to help draw people downtown - the area defined roughly as Randolph Avenue to the north, Baltimore Street to the south, Cannon Avenue to the east and Prospect Street to the west.

Bayer has recommended to the council that it make the offer valid up to 60 days after a person or family moves into the property.

The city will pay for the Downtown Residency Initiative, in part, by using $45,000 that was carried over from last year's program, according to city documents.

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