Hancock hopes to have new visitors center, jobs next year

December 09, 2009|By JULIE E. GREENE

HANCOCK ­-- A new visitors center downtown and continued efforts to bring business and jobs to the former Fleetwood property are among the projects expected in Hancock this coming year, Town Manager David Smith said.

Smith said he is donating space in his building at 42-48 W. Main St., the former Secret's building, for a town museum/visitors center that would be run by the town and the Hancock Historical Society.

The museum/visitors center is expected to open in the spring. In addition to having information for tourists, the center will display historical items from the historical society and geological displays and a taxidermy exhibit from the Sideling Hill visitors center, which closed in August, Smith said.

"I think that will bring a lot of life to Main Street," Smith said.

Tracy Salvagno, with the historical society, said the initial plan is to have historical items on display at the museum in the new space and keep the research library at Town Hall.


Smith said he also expected a food service business to open in the building, separate from the visitors center.

The steering committee that is charged with bringing business to the former Fleetwood building will continue to work on bringing new tenants, Smith said. The building is one of several locations a big company is considering for space, Smith said. The town bought the building in July 2008.

The 113,000-square-foot building at 35 South St. has two tenants, Hofmann Joinery and Morgan Rail, a railroad track service, Smith said.

The town is working with the Hancock Chamber of Commerce to beautify the Western Maryland Rail Trail, Smith said.

Hancock also will relocate a water line that crosses the Little Tonoloway Creek in Widmeyer Park, Smith said. Erosion has exposed the line. The work is expected to cost about $50,000 and start this spring or summer.

The Maryland State Highway Administration will upgrade traffic detection equipment at the intersection of Main Street and Pennsylvania Avenue in downtown Hancock, spokesman David Buck said.

Motion-sensitive cameras will be placed atop the signals to detect traffic flow and trigger signal light changes, Buck said. The work is expected to cost $15,000 to $20,000 and be completed this spring.

Hancock Middle-Senior High School is expected to get a new roof, pending budget approval, this summer. The work might begin before the school year ends, said Chad Criswell, director of facilities planning and development for Washington County Public Schools.

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