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County to give $30,000 to Salvation Army for new multipurpose building

Money will come from hotel-motel tax fund and will go toward a gymnasium

February 09, 2011|By HEATHER KEELS | heather.keels@herald-mail.com

The Washington County Commissioners voted 3-1 Tuesday to contribute $30,000 to The Salvation Army for a new multipurpose building at its headquarters in Hagerstown.

The funds will be paid over two years from the county's hotel-motel tax fund and will go toward a gymnasium in the new building, the commissioners said. Cultural and recreational projects are among several designated uses for the hotel-motel tax.

The Salvation Army plans to build the roughly 10,000-square-foot addition on the site of its current outdoor play area in the 500 block of George Street, Maj. Robert Lyle told the commissioners.

The building will be used for The Salvation Army's charitable programming to address the needs of the community, Lyle said. In addition to the gym, the building will have classrooms, a computer lab, a pantry, game rooms and offices.

The total cost of the building is estimated at $1.6 million, and private donors have already pledged over $1.1 million, Lyle said.

Commissioners President Terry Baker voted against contributing the funds, and Commissioner John F. Barr abstained and excused himself from the discussion because he is the Salvation Army's fundraising campaign co-chairman.

Baker said he would have been more comfortable with the contribution if The Salvation Army would commit to a joint-use agreement to share the gym with the county's recreation department. The Salvation Army representatives said the space could be made available when not in use, but could not grant the county priority access.

Lyle said the organization planned to offer no-cost memberships for use of the gym and other facilities. Anyone will be able to sign up, regardless of income, he said.

In addition to the multipurpose building project, The Salvation Army also plans to convert its existing offices into additional transitional housing for women and children, Lyle said.

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How they voted

Terry Baker — No

John F. Barr — Abstained

Ruth Anne Callaham — Yes

Jeff Cline — Yes

William B. McKinley — Yes

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