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Mural removal taking longer than expected

March 30, 2009|By DAN DEARTH

HAGERSTOWN -- The mural on the side of the Elizabeth Hager Center on North Potomac Street in downtown Hagerstown isn't coming off as easily as it went on.

City Public Works Director Eric Deike said a job that workers began about two weeks ago to remove the mural is taking longer than expected.

"It should have been done (by now)," Deike said. "They've found it's a little more stubborn than they anticipated."

Today, employees of G&D Construction LLC of Lanham, Md., were making slow progress power washing the mural, which the Hagerstown City Council ordered in February to be stripped from the northern exterior wall because the paint was peeling.

Deike said the project will cost the city $4,300.

The mural was painted in 1996 on the Elizabeth Hager Center and depicts scenes of Hagerstown's historic past.

Earlier this year, city officials discussed ways to cover the brick wall after the mural was removed.

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One of the most popular proposals was made by City Planner Alex Rohrbaugh, who suggested hanging 4-foot-by-8-foot photos on the wall.

Rohrbaugh said the photos, which would show Hagerstown's history, would be made of waterproof, ultraviolet laminate materials. The photos would cost about $1,060 each and be hung at a height that vandals could not reach, he said.

Money to pay for the proposal would come from a grant and the city's general fund, Rohrbaugh said.

During a City Council work session in February, Councilwoman Kelly S. Cromer said hanging photos on the wall would be a waste of money. She proposed leaving the wall blank.

The council agreed to table the discussion and bring up the subject again after the mural was removed.

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