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Hagerstown City Council briefs

January 28, 2009

Hagerstown to use grant to buy radios



The City of Hagerstown will use a federal grant and money from the Washington County government to purchase 62 portable radios for the city fire department.

The Hagerstown City Council voted 5-0 Tuesday to appropriate $173,394 to purchase the radios.

The price includes accessories, vehicle chargers and installation.

Hagerstown Fire Chief Gary Hawbaker said Wednesday the radios will be purchased from Motorola through Washington County Radio Communications Maintenance. The radios will be used, he said, when the county is finished upgrading its radio system, which will make it easier for the county's emergency responders to communicate.

Hawbaker said he wasn't sure when the upgrades would be complete.

About 90 percent of the radios' cost will be paid for using a grant from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program. The grant was awarded in January 2008.

Washington County will pay the remaining 10 percent of the cost, according to city documents.

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Hagerstown to replace heating system at Market House



The Hagerstown City Council on Tuesday voted 5-0 to spend $101,485 to replace an outdated heating system at the Market House on West Church Street.

About $81,500 will be used to install a new gas-fired heating system, Public Works Director Eric Deike said Wednesday. The remainder of the cost, or about $19,985, will be used to demolish the old system.

According to city documents, the money will be raised through bond financing.

Deike said the existing system needs to be replaced because it is roughly 30 years old and requires continual maintenance.

Beaver Mechanical of Hagerstown submitted the winning bid, city documents show. Other bids were submitted by Miller & Anderson ($105,850), Funk Electric ($112,500), and MS Johnston Co. ($143,300).

The Market House, at 25 W. Church St., is home to the City Market and the administrative offices of the Hagerstown Fire Department.

Alms House given landmark designation



The Alms House at 239 N. Locust St. in Hagerstown was given a landmark designation Tuesday by the Hagerstown City Council.

The designation, which was approved 5-0 by the council, will require the Hagerstown Historic District Commission to approve applications to alter the exterior of the house.

Built in the late 18th century, the Alms House has served many functions, including a hospital during the Civil War.

Some members of the City Council, particularly Kelly S. Cromer and Penny M. Nigh, argue the home should be saved from demolition because of its historical significance.

The city bought the Alms House in 2004 for $90,000, according to city documents.

City to annex 95.2 acres of landnear Oak Ridge Drive



The City of Hagerstown will annex 95.2 acres of land on the southern boundary of the city just off Oak Ridge Drive.

The City Council on Tuesday voted 4-1 to annex the land from Washington County.

Norfolk Southern Corp. plans to off-load motor vehicles by rail and store them on the land, where they would await shipment by tractor-trailers to other parts of the country, according to city documents.

A handful of residents who live in that area, which is below Wilson Boulevard and between Virginia Avenue and Downsville Pike, told the council last month they opposed the annexation, saying the storage facility would create too much light at night and disrupt the neighborhood. In addition, houses would be barraged with exhaust fumes from idling tractor-trailers, the residents said.

Councilwoman Penny M. Nigh cast the dissenting vote.

"There were enough citizens out there who didn't have their questions answered," Nigh said Wednesday. "I don't trust the railroad."

- Dan Dearth

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