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Two vacant buildings might be new location for downtown minipark

January 30, 2012|By C.J. LOVELACE | cj.lovelace@herald-mail.com
  • At 101 East Ave and 144 N. Locust St. in Hagerstown two houses will be torn down to make room for a minipark.
By Colleen McGrath

Two vacant buildings at the corner of North Locust Street and East Avenue are slated to be torn down to make way for a proposed community park, once the Hagerstown City Council gives the go-ahead.

The five-person council is expected vote to accept a $29,600 demolition contract with Allegany Wrecking & Salvage of Hagerstown at Tuesday’s regular session, which begins at 7 p.m. in the Council Chamber at City Hall.

The two buildings, which were purchased by the city in December 2011, are at 101 East Ave. and 144 N. Locust St., City Engineer Rodney Tissue said, and will make way for a new “pocket park,” also known as a city minipark that is accessible to the general public.

Tissue said the city bought the property to demolish the buildings and provide a green space and play area for local residents in that neighborhood “because there really is very, very little green space in that part of the downtown.”

“We’re setting up some meetings right now with the neighborhood so we can review with them some of the initial concepts we have, get their feedback on what they want to see there and how we want to orient everything,” Tissue said.

An all-in-one playground system with a slide tube would be the most likely fit for the small park, Tissue said, but the city would consider input from residents before developing its final plan. Pending approval by the city council, Tissue said meetings with residents probably would be the last Monday in February or the first Monday in March.

A survey was conducted two years ago that identified locations for new green space in the downtown area, Tissue said. The demolition of the two buildings, which contain five residential units, would help ease parking congestion in the area, he said, estimating 10 cars would not need to be parked there as a result.

“It’s not really providing new parking, but it’s hopefully lessening the demand while providing green space for the residents,” Tissue said.

The demolition and park construction will be paid out of reprogrammed bond funds, which are leftover money from construction projects that come in under budget, Tissue said.

Allegany provided the lowest bid of 12 that were received and came in about $15,000 less than the city’s initial estimate, according to city documents.

Most recently, the city installed a small park next to the University System of Maryland at Hagerstown on West Washington Street. More parks and green spaces are part of the city’s comprehensive plan for downtown, Tissue said.

“It’s neat to see how we can make these neighborhoods better,” Tissue said. “I think we have several things like this in the works.”

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