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Hagerstown City Council briefs

February 12, 2013

City moves toward buying former motel property
During a special voting session Tuesday, the Hagerstown City Council unanimously approved the introduction of an ordinance authorizing the city to buy the former Holiday Motel property.
The city plans to purchase the properties, listed at 170 W. Washington St. and 12 N. Prospect St., from FCB Hagerstown LLC for $27,500.
An ordinance to the same effect was introduced at the five-member council’s meeting on Feb. 5, but Councilman Kristin B. Aleshire questioned what in the city’s code governs such a property acquisition.
The purchase agreement contained in both introduced ordinances were the same, but a city attorney added four stipulations as findings found under the city’s charter to Tuesday’s version, according to John Lestitian, the city’s community and economic development director.
In summary, the findings in the ordinance state that the property has deteriorated to such an extent that it poses a “serious and growing menace to public health” and the structure will continue to deteriorate if the city does not intervene.
Additionally, the condition of the buildings contribute to the blighting of the surrounding area and the owner of the property has not corrected those condition issues, the ordinance states.
Funding for the acquisition comes from the city’s Economic Redevelopment Fund.
The ordinance will be up for final approval by the mayor and council Tuesday, Feb. 19.
City officials have said the decision to purchase the property was spurred by another investor’s interest in obtaining the former motel and possibly reopening it.

Ripken firm wins approval to study more potential stadium sites
Ripken Design, the firm that completed a feasibility study for Hagerstown’s once-eyed downtown mulituse stadium, will be returning to the city to examine two additional sites for a potential ballpark for the Hagerstown Suns.
By a unanimous vote during a special voting session Tuesday, the Hagerstown City Council approved a motion to award a $11,250 contract to the firm to study the Suns’ current location, Municipal Stadium, and the former Washington County Hospital site, both in the city’s East End.
Councilman Lewis C. Metzner added to the initial motion, requesting that Ripken officials look at adjacent sites in the immediate area of Municipal Stadium as well.
Other council members agreed, some saying they feel an adjacent site might offer more opportunities in developing a new venue for the club.
Suns officials have rejected Municipal Stadium’s current site as a viable option for the future.
Just like the report on the downtown site, Ripken Design will again take into site conditions at each location as well as provide an analysis of a proposed stadium’s economic impact on the surrounding areas, according to the firm’s proposal to the five-member council.
That information will then be used to compare the two new sites to the proposed downtown facility from last year.
Ripken projects a turnaround time of 30 to 45 days to complete their expanded study.

— C.J. Lovelace

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