Hagerstown adult bookstore would be torn down for alley project

October 15, 2008|By DAN DEARTH

HAGERSTOWN -- The Washington County Commissioners on Tuesday gave their unofficial approval to help the City of Hagerstown pay about $600,000 to enlarge the alley from East Washington Street to the parking deck behind Duffy's on Potomac.

If the commissioners agree to help fund the project, the city and county would pay about $300,000 each, City Engineer Rodney Tissue said Tuesday during a joint meeting of the City Council and the County Commissioners. The project would include demolishing The Video Store, an adult bookstore at 23 E. Washington St., and using that spot to widen the entrance from the street to the parking deck.

According to city documents, the project also would include sidewalks, ornamental street lighting and landscaping.

Tissue said the owner of the building, Bowman 2000 LLC, has agreed to demolish the building when the lease with the owner of the bookstore runs out at the end of this year.


Commissioner Kristin B. Aleshire said it would be "silly" not to share the cost with the city because the county has committed to help fund other projects, such as the Barbara Ingram School for the Arts and the expansion of the Washington County Free Library, in the Arts and Entertainment District.

"I think we should be supporting this endeavor ... To make the quadrant what it is and what it will continue to be," Aleshire said.

Commissioner James F. Kercheval said he was "inclined to help the city with this one," but wanted to find a source of funding first.

The commissioners would try to find a way to pay for the project within the next few weeks, Commissioners President John F. Barr said.

The bookstore has been the center of controversy for several years.

In 2002, the City Council put a limit on the hours that adult bookstores could do business after several people complained that illegal activities, including sex and drugs, had occurred at The Video Store, The Herald-Mail has reported. In addition, one man told city officials that he contracted AIDS as the result of engaging in homosexual acts at the business.

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