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Historic panel OKs plans to rehabilitate 36-40 N. Potomac Street

July 28, 2011|By KATE S. ALEXANDER | kate.alexander@herald-mail.com
  • This black and white sketch outlines city plans to rehabilitate a deteriorating Civil War-era building on North Potomac Street in Hagerstown.
This black and white sketch outlines city plans to rehabilitate a deteriorating Civil War-era building on North Potomac Street in Hagerstown.

Plans to rehabilitate a deteriorating Civil War-era building on North Potomac Street in Hagerstown will preserve the historic character of the structure, a city panel has decided.

The Hagerstown Historic District Commission Thursday granted a certificate of appropriateness to the city for its plans to rehabilitate 36-40 N. Potomac Street, which is also home to Rocky's Pizza and Cafe Napoli.

By granting the certificate, the historic commission said the plans show repairs that will maintain the building's historic character and the character of the district.

The Hagerstown City Council authorized the purchase of the building in June from Tosca LLC for $230,000 using Community Development Block Grant funds. CDBG funds will also be used to renovate the building's exterior.

The city has not yet gone to settlement on the building, said John Lestitian, director of Community and Economic Development.

Once the city settles, it will acquire necessary permits and put the project out to bid, he said. A timeline for work has yet to be finalized.

Just a few doors down from City Hall, the building's facade is marked by a torn awning, stained and peeling paint and a vacant storefront.

The structure is also beginning to bulge on the second story, said Joe Frazier, city rehabilitation services coordinator.

Pulling out his recently published book, titled "Hagerstown in the Civil War," Stephen R. Bockmiller, city zoning administrator, noted Thursday that the building was present in an 1867 photo.

To keep with the Civil War-era history of the structure, the city has proposed to replace 10 existing windows with new "six-over-six," double-hung insulated glass wood windows, according to city documents.

Bockmiller said that in the 1867 photo, most of the buildings had six-over-six windows, which are windows divided by muntins, or glazing bars, into six smaller panes on the top half and six on the bottom half.

In the plans, existing storefront glass will be removed to expose the facade's brick surface and framing, the documents said.

A damaged section of the front glass on the southern storefront will also be replaced. A hard-texture stucco will be applied to the storefronts and painted, and masonry will also be painted.

The existing awning systems will be preserved, if possible, and repaired or will be replaced, Frazier said. Sign boards will be installed above the storefronts along with a cornice, he said.

The Maryland Historic Trust has also approved plans for the work, Bockmiller said.

A certificate of appropriateness is required for work on any building in the city's historic preservation districts that would change the exterior appearance of the site or structure before a building or demolition permit or zoning certificate can be granted, under city code.

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