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Hagerstown City Council briefs

October 24, 2012

Permanent seating at City Park bandshell approved

Say goodbye to the old wooden benches at City Park’s bandshell.

The Hagerstown City Council on Tuesday gave its approval for the construction of permanent seating in front of the outdoor amphitheater.

Complete with five U-shaped rows of wooden 18-inch bench seats and a raised back support that will be built on top of a concrete base, the seating area would accommodate about 150 people. It would be built based upon the preliminary design previously presented and approved by the city council.

Several tables and chairs also will be installed near two new shade trees to the rear of the seating area, according to plans.

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City officials have said there will still be plenty of room for people who wish to bring lawn chairs or blankets out for events. Municipal band and Blues Fest leaders have supported the idea, city Engineer Rodney Tissue has said.

Design and construction will be completed by city staff in 2013. The city has budgeted Capital Improvement Project funds for the project, which is expected to cost less than $50,000 with in-house labor.

Hagerstown contractor awarded $480,000 contract

Milton Stamper Builders of Hagerstown was awarded a $484,721 contract Tuesday for the second phase of renovations at 36-40 N. Potomac St., which city officials are transforming into artist loft-style apartments.

The Hagerstown City Council voted unanimously to approve the low bid submitted by the local contractor.

The work includes renovating four vacant residential units and the residential corridor of the building, in addition to with new plumbing, electric and heating, ventilation and air-conditioning.

Along with new kitchens and bathrooms, a new fire suppression system will be installed in the residential and commercial areas.

Funding sources for the project include Community Legacy Grant money from the state, coupled with funds from the city’s Community Development Block Grant.

Two other bids were received from Tito Contractors Inc. ($525,283) of Washington, D.C., and Callas Contractors Inc. ($623,899) of Hagerstown.

City officials anticipate the renovation to be completed in spring 2013.

City OKs purchase of new two-way radios

Needing to come into compliance with new Federal Communication Commission mandates, the City of Hagerstown is getting new two-way radios for use by staff in its Public Works and Utilities departments.

The Hagerstown City Council on Tuesday approved a purchase order in the amount of $100,365.27 with Brown’s Communications of Hunt Valley, Md., for radios that comply with the FCC’s narrowbanding regulations.

The FCC is requiring all public safety and business industrial land mobile radio systems are required to move from a 25-kilohertz bandwidth frequency to a 12.5-kilohertz system by Jan. 1, 2013, city Public Works Manager Eric Deike told the city council earlier this month.

Most of the current two-way radios used by Public Works and Utilities staff are not capable of operating at 12.5-kilohertz, Deike said, although some can be reprogrammed.

Updating its radio system also would allow city staff to communicate with emergency services personnel through channels that are currently not accessible under the current system, Deike said.

Additionally, it would eliminate the city’s dependence on land-lines, saving over $1,000 a year in phone line costs, he added.

Other bids for the purchase order came from TelTronic ($102,619.35) of Winchester, Va., and Communications Electronics ($103,761.70) of Timonium, Md.

City selling property at 140 S. Potomac St.

The Hagerstown City Council on Tuesday unanimously approved the introduction of an ordinance to sell a dilapidated building at 140 S. Potomac St. for $105,000.

The prospective buyer, Capybara LLC, has agreed in principal to buy the property, renovate the structure and occupy the building with commercial offices, according to city documents.

As proposed in the conditions of sale, Capybara would be responsible for renovating the building to Partners in Economic Progress (PEP) standards as commercial office space within 180 days of settlement.

The city will handle water service upgrades at the site.

John Lestitian, director of the city’s Community and Economic Development Department, told the city council Tuesday that the prospective buyers were under a tight time schedule to get the building ready and were requesting the opportunity to begin renovations before reaching settlement. The city council did not object to the idea.

The city purchased the property in 2009 for $55,000, hoping to incorporate it into its revitalization efforts of South Potomac Street. It has since fallen into a state of disrepair and further deterioration might have led to demolition.

A contract of sale was approved in 2011, but the buyer at the time backed out.

Final approval and adoption of the ordinance will take place at a later date.

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