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$100,000 sought for sidewalk widening

February 12, 2009|By DAN DEARTH

HAGERSTOWN -- The City of Hagerstown will apply for a $100,000 state grant to widen the sidewalk in the first block of North Potomac Street.

The Hagerstown City Council on Tuesday directed City Planning Director Kathleen Maher to apply for the grant.

Maher said the city decided to widen the sidewalk on North Potomac Street based on the success of a similar project that was completed last year to widen the first block of South Potomac Street.

The South Potomac Street project, which cost the city about $455,000, included widening the sidewalks and repaving the street. Contractors had to remove trees and light poles to complete the work.

City Administrator Bruce Zimmerman said Thursday the Capital Improvement Project budget for fiscal year 2010 includes $400,000 to widen the first block of North Potomac Street.

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In addition to the grant, the city could use bond proceeds and General Fund transfers to help pay the cost, according to documents.

Zimmerman said the city is not ready to go forward with the project.

"It's not a done deal," he said. "We're just going to ask for the grant."

Penny M. Nigh and Alesia D. Parson-McBean were the only two members of the council who voted against the sidewalk project on South Potomac Street.

Nigh said Wednesday she would not support a similar plan just a block up the street unless grants would cover the entire cost.

"Right now, sidewalks are not a need in the City of Hagerstown," Nigh said. "If we're not looking at a full grant, then my answer is no."

She said bringing in new businesses, rather than widening sidewalks, should be the city's first priority.

Parson-McBean, who does not respond to telephone messages, could not be reached for comment.

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