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Land transfer resulting in alley project

May 31, 2009|By DAN DEARTH

HAGERSTOWN -- The Hagerstown City Council accepted 0.151 acre of land from a local developer on Tuesday to improve an alley between East Washington Street and the parking deck in the Arts & Entertainment District.

City Engineer Rodney Tissue said the land transfer will allow the city to widen the alley, and improve passage between the street and the parking deck

Although the city officially accepted the land Tuesday, construction to improve the alley began about a month ago, Tissue said. If everything goes as planned, the alley should be finished in August.

Tissue said the city received the land from Bowman 2000, LLC, a company that is owned by local developer Don Bowman.

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The project to widen the alley got off the ground in early 2005, Tissue said, when Bowman began acquiring two abutting buildings on East Washington Street near the mouth of the alley.

One of those buildings housed the adult bookstore at 23 E. Washington St.

Tissue said the city gave Bowman $240,000 to buy the bookstore building, and Bowman used about $310,000 of his own money to buy the building next door at 25-27 E. Washington St. Tissue said the two parties agreed that Bowman would receive an additional $40,000 to demolish the buildings when the bookstore's lease expired so the mouth of the alley could be widened.

That demolition occurred earlier this year.

Tissue said the city paid Bowman long ago.

"There's no new money changing hands," he said. "(The land transfer) is just fulfilling that agreement of four years ago."

It is estimated that the project to improve the alley will cost $813,802.56, according to city documents. Of that money, Washington County will pay $300,000.

In addition to widening the alley, the improvements will include landscaping, the construction of sidewalks and a 28-space parking lot.

Tissue said he wasn't certain whether the parking lot would be metered.

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