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Hagerstown gets $100,000 Community Legacy Program grant

November 30, 2012|By DON AINES | dona@herald-mail.com
  • The City of Hagerstown has received a $100,000 state grant for renovations to a row of West Washington Street properties, but the previous city administration applied for the grant, and the project will be revisited by the new mayor and council, city spokeswoman Erin Wolfe said Thursday.
By Joe Crocetta, Staff Photographer

The City of Hagerstown has received a $100,000 state grant for renovations to a row of West Washington Street properties, but the previous city administration applied for the grant, and the project will be revisited by the new mayor and council, city spokeswoman Erin Wolfe said Thursday.

The award is for the acquisition and renovation of 43-53 W. Washington St., according to a press release from the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development. The funds are part of $5.5 million in Community Legacy Program grants handed out to 38 municipalities and organizations across the state.

The city had discussed the possibility of buying or leasing the building from Hagerstown Table, its president Vincent Groh said Thursday. Two of the buildings in that section, 43 and 47, have had the insides gutted, he said.

“I haven’t heard anything from them for months,” Groh said of the city government. During those discussions with city officials, no mention was made as to whether it was connected with the proposed multipurpose stadium project, Groh said.

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In July, city Planning Director Kathleen Maher presented the council with three project ideas for the Community Legacy Program, including a City Center acquisition and renovation program. That project would have been for a $100,000 Community Legacy grant coupled with $220,000 in Community Development Block Grant funds, she told the council.

The property being considered was not disclosed at the time because the city did not know whether it could obtain an option on the building, Maher said at the time.

The $100,000 received by the city would have been used for rehabilitating the properties, Wolfe said Thursday.

“It was a potential project we were working on with the prior council,” Wolfe said Thursday. “In terms of acquisition (of the properties), there’s no finalized contract,” she said.

“We are going to have to revisit the project” with the city’s new administration, Wolfe said.

On Nov. 6, Mayor Robert E. Bruchey II was defeated by David S. Gysberts. Three new members were elected to the City Council — Kristin B. Aleshire, Penny Nigh and Donald F. Munson.

Aleshire is a former Washington County Commissioner and a past city councilman. Munson is a former state senator and Nigh ran a campaign that questioned the stadium project.

The city received another Legacy Program grant of $50,000 for a funding program to upgrade the facades of mixed-use buildings downtown, the Department of Housing and Community Development release said.

The grant is separate from the city’s existing facade program, Wolfe said.

In July, Maher told the council that one of the three projects being considered was for $60,000 for a facade program, which would be matched by $60,000 in Community Development Block Grant funds. The money would be used to upgrade facades on four buildings in the downtown over a two-year period, she said at the time.

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