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Hagerstown City Council briefs

March 21, 2013

Hager House to mark 275th birthday next year

Next year will mark the 275th birthday of Hagerstown’s historic landmark, the Jonathan Hager House and Museum in City Park, a local tourism official told Hagerstown City Council members at City Hall on Tuesday.

“This is going to be a big deal,” said Tom Riford, president of the Hagerstown-Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Riford and Washington County Historical Society Board President Roger Fairbourn went before the city council to ask for the city’s continued support of the Hager House — a rare historical resource — that promotes “heritage” travelers and to urge the elected body to take steps to increase public accessibility.

Riford said investing in the area’s historical aspects, including the Hager House, which dates back to 1739, would encourage more visits by heritage travelers, who tend to stay longer and spend more money than typical tourists or business travelers.

In scaling back operations in recent years due to budget constraints, city officials were forced to eliminate a full-time employee devoted to the Hager House. Riford asked if the city would consider reinstating a position for a museum curator.

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City staff goals for 2013, among others, include opening the Hager House on Fridays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., in addition to normal Saturday hours, develop more volunteer support or a “Friends of the Hager House” group and improve security of the historic facility, according to a memo to the city council.

Bicycle Advisory Committee updates city on progress

Members of Hagerstown’s Bicycle Advisory Committee spoke to the Hagerstown City Council on Tuesday, updating the elected body on the group’s progress since the implementation of the city’s Bicycle Master Plan in 2010.

In conjunction with city staff members, committee member Mike Mittel said the group has successfully developed a map of a 10-mile bike loop through the city and an annual list of events for National Bicycle Month in May, among other accomplishments.

Through the rest of 2013, Mittel, who owns Hub City Cycles, said the committee plans to produce a safety video that could be shown on the city’s website, improve interaction with police and continue to grow the annual downtown criterium race in June.

The cycling group also leads weekly rides along the city’s bike loop, which starts and ends at Fairgrounds Park, on Saturdays at 9 a.m., Mittel said.

— C.J. Lovelace

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