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Hager Center mural to be removed

February 10, 2009|By DAN DEARTH

HAGERSTOWN -- The Hagerstown City Council on Tuesday gave city staff permission to remove the mural on the north side of the Elizabeth Hager Center on North Potomac.

The council also discussed several options to replace the peeling, weather-beaten mural, which was painted in 1996 and portrays scenes of the city's historic past.

The discussion was tabled, however, after the council failed to reach a decision.

One of the most popular proposals was made by City Planner Alex Rohrbaugh on behalf of the Hagerstown Beautification Advisory Committee.

The proposal included hanging four 4-foot-by-8-foot photos on the wall at a height that vandals couldn't reach.

Rohrbaugh said the photos would show Hagerstown's history and be made of waterproof, ultraviolet laminate materials. They would cost about $1,060 each, he said.

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Rohrbaugh said the city would pay for the photos using a grant and money from the General Fund.

Councilwoman Penny M. Nigh said she thought the photos were too small and would leave too much of the wall exposed.

"Something is needed here," she said.

Councilwoman Kelly Cromer said the proposal would be a waste of the taxpayers' money and suggested leaving the wall blank.

During a council work session last month, it was stated that the $4,300 estimated cost to remove the existing mural might be averted by covering it with a prepainted mural on synthetic material.

Rohrbaugh told the council on Tuesday that the idea would cost more than $30,000. In addition, the peeling paint from the existing mural probably would cause the synthetic material to separate from the wall, he said.

At the end of the discussion, the council agreed to have the mural removed and to apply for a $2,120 grant to hang the photos. The council members agreed that the city could return the grant money if the idea falls through.

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