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Hagerstown increases incentives for downtown renters, home buyers

February 27, 2008|By DAN DEARTH

HAGERSTOWN - In an effort to stimulate residential growth downtown, the Hagerstown City Council on Tuesday voted 5-0 to increase the financial incentives that the city offers to renters and home buyers.

The increases were part of a modification to the city's Downtown Residency Initiative.

"It needed to be revamped," Councilwoman Kelly S. Cromer said after Tuesday's council meeting. "We're trying to get people to live downtown. (The modification) provides more incentives."

Councilman Lewis C. Metzner agreed, saying people need to live downtown for the area to be successful.

"This will jump-start the process," he said.

The council's decision will increase incentives from $100 to $150 per month for people who rent downtown properties.

For home buyers, the city will increase the amount of loans that it offers from $1,500 to $2,500 for homes selling at $150,000 or less. Loans will increase from $1,500 to $5,000 on homes selling from $150,001 to $250,000.

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Forgiveness on the $2,500 loans would be given after a person or family lives in the home for three years. The $5,000 loans would be forgiven after five years of residency.

Hagerstown Community Development Manager Larry Bayer said earlier this week that a person may receive the incentives regardless of income.

The downtown area is defined roughly as Randolph Avenue to the north, Baltimore Street to the south, Cannon Avenue to the east and Prospect Street to the west.

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