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Clock tower renovation proposed

January 13, 2009|By DAVE McMILLION

WILLIAMSPORT -- A former Washington County Commissioner on Monday night proposed renovating an old clock tower in town, saying it could spark an interest in redeveloping the town.

Ron Bowers, speaking to Williamsport Town Council members, said The Order of the Knights of Pythias in 1908 donated the clock tower on North Conococheague Street for a town clock.

The Order of the Knights of Pythias is an international, nonsectarian fraternal order, established in 1864 in Washington, D.C.

Bowers noted that the 9,200-square-foot building needs new windows and said that perhaps a window- manufacturing company could be convinced to donate some.

The building is owned by Mark Brody and Bowers said after the meeting that he told Brody he was going to talk to town council members about improvements to the building.

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Brody, a Washington, D.C., real estate broker, was unavailable for comment.

Council member Jeff Cline said Tuesday that Brody recently came to town and introduced himself. Cline said Brody was initially interested in another building in town but instead turned his interests to the clock tower building.

Bowers said that perhaps a committee could be formed to address the renovation of the building, which has space that could be leased.

Mayor James G. McCleaf II responded favorably to the idea, saying it fits in with a $25,000 state Department of Economic Development and Business grant the town was awarded recently.

The grant the town received will pave the way for a feasibility study for the redevelopment of the downtown area, McCleaf said. The study also will help the town get grants it needs for such an effort, he said.

Bowers, who is a real estate agent, said he would be willing to help the town with the clock tower project.

Cline said his mother can remember people riding trolley cars from Hagerstown to Williamsport to see vaudeville shows and plays at the clock tower building, which contained a stage.

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