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Arts school, museums get state money

April 11, 2009|By ERIN CUNNINGHAM

ANNAPOLIS -- A new high school for the performing arts in downtown Hagerstown and two local museums are expected to receive at least $100,000 each in state money.

Sen. Donald F. Munson, R-Washington, and Del. John P. Donoghue, D-Washington, each requested bond bills of up to $250,000 for the Barbara Ingram School for the Arts, up to $100,000 for the Doleman Black Heritage Museum Inc. and up to $150,000 for the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts. The requests were made for the fiscal year 2010.

State lawmakers decided to give $125,000 to the Barbara Ingram School for the Arts, $100,000 to the Museum of Fine Arts and $25,000 to the Doleman Black Heritage Museum, Donoghue said.

A bond bill is state money for a capital project. Each year, there is a pool of money for local government requests.

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"We didn't get everything we wanted, but we got something," Donoghue said.

Donoghue said securing state money for the school and museums was a team effort between him and Munson. He said they would try again next year to get the remainder of the money they originally were seeking.

Washington County Public Schools spokesman Richard Wright said the money will be used to pay some construction costs for the school opening in the fall, along with equipment with a life span of more than 15 years, including lockers, chairs, desks and a piano.

"We're grateful for every dollar we get," Wright said.

Money for the Doleman Black Heritage Museum is for the acquisition, planning and design of the museum, which Munson said will be on Jonathan Street. Right now, the museum is housed in a private residence on Locust Street, and the state money will help them refurbish an existing building on Jonathan Street that would have room to display the collection.

"It's packed in so tight now," Munson said.

It was his hope a larger museum on Jonathan Street also would lead to additional building and housing improvements in the area, and boost economic development there.

The Washington County Museum of Fine Arts will use its money for the planning, design, construction, renovation and capital equipping of a courtyard and building for the museum.

"We were able to get some money, but it's a tough year," Munson said.

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