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Parking deck of former hospital closed

January 10, 2011|By HEATHER KEELS | heather.keels@herald-mail.com
  • The former Washington County Hospital parking deck on East Antietam Street in Hagerstown is closed indefinitely.
By Joe Crocetta/Staff Photographer

HAGERSTOWN —

With the closure of Washington County Hospital, empty parking spaces in the southeast portion of downtown became a lot more plentiful — but that doesn’t mean they’re all available.

When the hospital moved to the new Meritus Medical Center last month, its four-level, 253-space parking deck on East Antietam Street closed indefinitely, Meritus spokeswoman Nicole Jovel said.

“It is closed right now, primarily for safety,” she said. “We don’t want to have skateboarders, for example, come in and get hurt.”

Jovel said Meritus Health officials have not yet determined what to do with any of the former hospital property, including the parking deck.

Meanwhile, the City of Hagerstown has decided to stop charging for some of the street parking around the former hospital, citing lower demand.

Meters were removed from Mill Street, South Cannon Avenue, East Antietam Street and East Baltimore Street in the blocks surrounding the former hospital, said Jason Rodgers, the city’s parking system supervisor.

“There’s really no reason to regulate parking around a building that’s vacant,” he said.

The city left meters on King Street, however, because of the offices on the west side of the street, Rodgers said.

Asked whether the city was interested in taking over the hospital’s former parking deck, Eric Deike, the city’s public works manager, responded through an assistant that “at this point in time, we really don’t know because it’s not our property.”

The city currently operates two parking decks, the North Potomac Street parking deck, and the Arts and Entertainment parking deck on South Potomac Street.

In late 2009, the Hagerstown City Council discussed building a third deck, possibly in the southwest quadrant of the downtown area, but the city’s finance director said the project would be financially challenging.

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