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Hagerstown City Council briefs

September 29, 2011

Street to be closed for film festival

HAGERSTOWN — The city of Hagerstown will close the first block of South Potomac Street on Oct. 13 for the first annual Maryland International Film Festival.

The five-member Hagerstown City Council approved the street closure Tuesday.

The festival will run from Oct. 13-16 in downtown Hagerstown at The Maryland Theatre and the Bridge of Life. Films will also be screened at Leitersburg Cinemas on Leitersburg Pike, according to city documents.

Tom Riford, president and chief executive officer of the Hagerstown-Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau, said at a Sept. 20 council work session that the festival will feature 51 films from 19 different countries.

On Oct. 13, there will be a red-carpet premiere event along South Potomac Street at The Maryland Theatre.

To accommodate it, the council agreed to close the street from 5:30 to 11 p.m. Hagerstown and city auxiliary police will direct traffic around the closure.

City Councilwoman Ashley C. Haywood was absent Tuesday.



Unspent bond funds to cover roadwork

HAGERSTOWN — Unspent bond proceeds will help the city  complete all of its targeted pavement preservation this year.

The Hagerstown City Council voted Tuesday to redirect $131,000 of its unspent 2009 bond proceeds to the 2011 pavement preservation program. The vote included earmarking an additional $3,630 in capital improvement funds to the program to complete all targeted roads.

Several projects in the city either came in under budget, were not undertaken or were financed through alternative sources, leaving the city with more than $1.4 million in unspent bond proceeds to reprogram before 2012.

Thanks to the price of liquid asphalt, City Engineer Rodney Tissue said previously that bids for pavement preservation exceeded budgeted amounts. The city had planned to postpone paving certain streets to stay within the $620,000 authorized by the council in June, Tissue said.

Bid in full, the 2012 priority list would cost the city $736,201.20 through Craig Paving, according to city documents.

Using reprogrammed bond proceeds will allow the city to repair all the roads originally planned for this year, Tissue said previously.



Pageant remains in city 5 more years

HAGERSTOWN — A new rental contract with The Maryland Theatre will keep the Miss Maryland Scholarship Pageant in Hagerstown for five more years.

The Hagerstown City Council voted Tuesday to approve an agreement that holds the event's rent stable at $34,000 a year for the next five years.

Approving the agreement binds the city to an annual $8,000 commitment toward the rental price from 2012 through 2016.

Under the agreement terms, the county will annually chip in $16,000, and the scholarship organization will contribute $10,000 each year toward the rent.

The previous agreement for renting the theater for the pageant extended from 2007 through 2011, city documents said.

Karen Giffin, city community affairs manager, said all of the parties — the county, the scholarship organization and the theater — have also approved making their contributions.

The Miss Maryland pageant has been held in Hagerstown for more than 35 years, according to Tom Riford, president and chief executive officer of the Hagerstown-Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau, a sponsor of the pageant.

Riford worked with representatives of the scholarship organization, the city and the county to draft the new agreement. Five years ago, rent for the theater increased significantly, so representatives negotiated to help the pageant stay in Hagerstown, he said previously.

Riford has estimated the annual local impact from hosting the pageant at more than $250,000.



City public safety board to be axed

HAGERSTOWN — The Hagerstown Board of Public Safety will soon be no more.

The Hagerstown City Council voted Tuesday to introduce an ordinance that repeals the code section that authorizes the board.

The need for the board has ceased, according to city documents.

Repealing it from the code is in the best interest of the citizens, the documents said.

The council is scheduled to vote on passing the ordinance at its Oct. 25 regular meeting.

If it approves the ordinance in October, it will go into effect in late November.



2 new members named to traffic panel

HAGERSTOWN — Two new members will join the Hagerstown Board of Traffic and Parking.

The Hagerstown City Council on Tuesday appointed Lynda Evans and Percy Wright each to four-year terms on the board that will end in September 2015.

A citizen-member board, the five members assist in addressing certain city traffic issues, according to the city website.

The board meets monthly and always welcomes citizen input, even providing a forum for citizens to discuss their concerns, the website said.



City to fund afterschool programs

HAGERSTOWN — Funding for two after-school programs will continue in the city.

The Hagerstown City Council on Tuesday approved using previously-budgeted funds to collaborate with the Hagerstown Housing Authority for the afterschool programs.

The city will provide $18,881 from its general fund for the Parkside Community Center Afterschool Program and $3,000 for the BTJ Dance Group afterschool program.

Both programs were previously run by CSAFE, which stands for Collaborative Supervision and Focused Enforcement.

Focused on providing homework assistance, enrichment, character building and life skills, the Parkside program helps approximately 25 students in kindergarten through third grade.

BTJ Dance is a free dance class for girls that is taught by instructors from Ballet and All That Jazz and is supervised by parents.



Zoning change could allow for pet-grooming shop

HAGERSTOWN —  A zoning overly could allow a local businesswoman to open a pet-grooming shop on North Locust Street in the city.

The Hagerstown City Council on Tuesday approved a local conversion district overlay for 245 N. Locust Street, which is currently a residence with a storefront on its first floor.

Owner April Hodge asked to open a pet grooming shop — or similar business, including a salon, business office, or personal household goods repair and maintenance business — on the first floor of the property, while keeping the second floor as a residence, according to city documents.

Local conversion districts were created to stimulate reuse of existing nonresidential and mixed-use structures in residential districts to enhance the city's tax base and expand business and employment opportunities, according to city documents.

Built prior to Oct. 1, 1956, the Locust Street building had once been used as a business, but was currently zoned for residential use, the documents said.

The council approved the overlay with two conditions recommended by the city planning commission.

The commission recommended that the residential-style door on the storefront be replaced with a full-view door made of wood or similar material to keep with the structure's historic appearance.

 It also recommended that if signs are installed for the business that it be one of the following: lettering on the storefront window, flat mounted signs with no internal lighting, or projecting signs that are consistent with the size and location requirements of the downtown mixed-use zoning district, the documents said.

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— Kate S. Alexander

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