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Manager: Washington Street building to be repaired

July 15, 2009|By DAN DEARTH

HAGERSTOWN -- The City of Hagerstown barricaded a small stretch of sidewalk on Wednesday to protect pedestrians from what an official called a potentially unsafe structure at 138 W. Washington St.

John Lestitian, chief code compliance inspector for the City of Hagerstown, said the barricade was set up to prevent broken windows from falling on someone. The city also is concerned about an adjoining parking deck to the rear of the main structure that shows signs of aging concrete, he said.

Workers sent by the property owner, Washington Street LLC of Olney, Md., were at the site making repairs Wednesday.

"We'll be conducting a follow-up with that," Lestitian said. "The city is going to act in the interest of the public safety."

Karen Rollings, managing member of Washington Street LLC, said Wednesday the windows would be fixed by the end of the day.

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Rollings said concrete that was on the ground near the parking deck Wednesday had been chipped intentionally to assess the condition of the structure.

"It didn't fall," she said. "There's no danger of it falling on people."

Washington Street LLC will be required to make temporary fixes on the property by Monday to eliminate the hazards, Lestitian said. If that doesn't happen, the city will hire a contractor to do the work and send the bill to Washington Street LLC.

A sign in the front window of the property says commercial space is available there for lease.

Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation records show Washington Street LLC bought the property from J R E Properties in 2006 for $1.1 million.

In June 1999, the Washington County Commissioners narrowly rejected a staff recommendation to buy 138 W. Washington St. for $635,000 and spend about $1.1 million on renovations.

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