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Hagerstown City Council considers museum project

December 01, 2009

HAGERSTOWN -- Plans to enclose the interior courtyard at the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts were presented Tuesday during the Hagerstown City Council meeting.

Designs for the project are near completion, and about $1.6 million of the necessary $2.5 million has been raised, said Thomas C. Newcomer, president of the museum's Board of Trustees.

The nine-month construction project could begin as early as March and would create jobs locally, museum officials said. The enclosed space will provide a place to display sculptures currently in storage, and a venue for performances and receptions.

The museum has also approached Del. John P. Donoghue, D-Washington, about procuring a $150,000 bond bill for the project during the coming legislative session. The board asked the city for its support in that endeavor, which the council provided.

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Newcomer also asked that the city provide a grant for whatever permit fees are associated with the project and for an unspecified amount of direct financial assistance.

Councilwoman Ashley Haywood said she would like to see a detailed financial breakdown of the project before the council considers a cash outlay.

The council asked the engineering department to estimate the amount of permit fees associated with the project before further consideration of the museum board's request to reimburse those fees.

-- Erin Julius

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