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David Hanlin: Six reasons to revitalize downtown Hagerstown

September 20, 2011|By DAVID HANLIN

Since starting this column a few months ago, I have received the most feedback from readers regarding revitalization of downtown Hagerstown. My error perhaps was in assuming that revitalization of downtown Hagerstown is an inherently good thing. Not everyone agreed with me.

While I disagree with my critics on that point, I do view the number of comments as a positive sign. People care. This column addresses six key reasons why I think revitalization of downtown Hagerstown is important to everyone, including residents of Hancock, Smithsburg, Boonsboro or Dargan.  

First, without a vibrant downtown Hagerstown we all are paying higher real estate taxes. In downtown, most real estate is commercial, and its value ultimately stems from its performance as an investment. Like any asset that is not performing well, the value ultimately gets reflected. In the case of real estate, if the asset of a class of real estate declines in value, the assessed value, for purposes of determining taxes, also declines. With low assessed values, the tax rate must be higher elsewhere to compensate for the reduced revenue. No doubt, real estate investments in downtown Hagerstown are underperforming.    

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