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Airport project and eye center approved to receive federal stimulus money

April 19, 2010|By HEATHER KEELS

WASHINGTON COUNTY -- A new hangar and office building at Hagerstown Regional Airport and an eye center in Hagerstown have been approved for a total of $11.95 million in tax-exempt federal stimulus bonds.

The projects were recommended for the bonds by a task force of four Hagerstown-Washington County Economic Development Commission members. The Washington County Commissioners approved the projects April 13.

The county was allocated about $13.9 million worth of Recovery Zone Facility Bonds to distribute to qualifying private development projects.

The hangar and office building are being built by Rider Jet Center for lease to Sierra Nevada Corp., which expects to add 80 employees to its work force with the completion of the hangar and 100 more employees when the three-story, 34,000-square-foot office building is finished, according to a proposal cover letter from Rider Jet Center President David R. Rider.

The hangar was approved for a $3.2 million bond and the office building for a $3.5 million bond.

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Bergman Eye Center LLC, which has offices in Hagerstown and Williamsport, applied for a $5.25 million bond for the acquisition, construction, or renovation and equipping of a 20,000-square-foot building in Hagerstown to be used as a medical office and surgery facility, according to a cover letter from Erik A. Bergman.

The commissioners approved the eye center bond contingent on the company securing a site for the project by May 12. The company is considering sites on Venture Way, Eastern Boulevard and in the Friendship Park area, Bergman wrote.

The center is to include 14 exam rooms, an ambulatory surgery center with one operating room and one procedure room for the performance of cataract and other eye surgeries, a new optical shop with displays and a medical spa, Bergman wrote.

The company expects to transfer 23 employees from its existing location to the new center and hire about 13 additional employees, he wrote.

The only other application submitted was from developers Morris and Ash Azadi for a bowling alley project, EDC Executive Director Timothy R. Troxell said. They later withdrew the request because the project did not meet the eligibility criteria, he said.

The bonds were created as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act passed by Congress in February 2009. They are available for certain types of projects in designated recovery zones.

The EDC will continue to accept applications for its remaining $2 million in bonds, Troxell said. He said it was likely that additional bond money, unused by other counties, eventually would become available.

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