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City to seek funding for trail at Mills Park

July 12, 2009|By DAN DEARTH

HAGERSTOWN -- The City of Hagerstown will seek state and federal funds to make improvements at Mills Park in the city's north end.

City Engineer Rodney Tissue received permission from the City Council on Tuesday to pursue funding from the state and federal governments to pay for the project, which would include the construction of about 4,500 feet of trails for hikers and bicyclists.

The project would cost $200,000 to $300,000, Tissue said.

Hagerstown officials surveyed 38 residents who live near the underutilized Mills Park to determine how the space could be used more effectively, Tissue said.

Of those surveyed, 32 asked for trails, as long as the funding primarily would come from state and federal grants, he said. The other six residents liked the park the way it is or said they wanted it to be converted into a dog park.

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The project probably would take several years to complete because the city wouldn't be able to land a single grant to cover a significant portion of the cost, Tissue said.

The concept also would include the installation of a small fitness area and interpretive plaques to describe nature and wildlife in that area, according to city documents.

"I believe this is a beautiful plan," Councilwoman Ashley C. Haywood said.

She suggested that planners consider using light-emitting diodes as a light source along the trails.

LEDs limit energy consumption and last longer than conventional bulbs.

Councilman Martin E. Brubaker praised the city staff for its thorough presentation about the project.

The city should explore asking the community to get involved in the park's upkeep when the project is finished, Brubaker said.

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