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Antietam Fire Company in Hagerstown a step closer to getting renovation money

Maryland's Capital Budget bill passes second reading in House of Delegates; it did not include any money for demolition of former Municipal Electric Light Plant

March 27, 2013|By KAUSTUV BASU | kaustuv.basu@herald-mail.com

ANNAPOLIS — The state’s Capital Budget bill cleared a crucial step in the House of Delegates on Wednesday when it passed a second reading, and tucked away in it was a provision setting aside $85,000 for the Antietam Fire Company in Hagerstown.

The Capital Budget bill, however, did not include any money for the demolition of the former Municipal Electric Light Plant in Hagerstown.

Del. John P. Donoghue, D-Washington, who had asked for the fire company money through a bond bill to fund renovations and repairs to the Antietam Fire Company’s firehouse, said the money would help Hagerstown residents.

“This is especially going to help the north end of the city,” Donoghue said about the money being allocated to the Antietam Fire Company. “Up until recently, we did not have a fire station there. The Antietam Fire Company had to use a circuitous route to get to North Hagerstown if there were trains on the railroad tracks.”

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The fire company moved to its present location on Hagerstown’s Potomac Avenue in late 2012.

It is also applying for a grant worth $162,000 from the Maryland State Fireman’s Association to fund the renovation of the building.

Donoghue sponsored a bond bill during the current session of the Maryland General Assembly asking for $300,000 that would go toward the demolition of the plant.

He said Wednesday that there was still a possibility of getting state money for the MELP plant demolition.

“They (the state legislature) are doing some work to try and figure out the best place where this project could qualify. Is it environmental cleanup? Or is it public safety? ... They are taking some time to explore where exactly this money is going to come from,” he said.

The former MELP plant, is located near the intersection of Eastern Boulevard South and Mt. Aetna Road, and Donoghue has called the plant an eyesore and an environmental hazard.

The city had previously offered to contribute $750,000 towards the cost of the demolition.

Donoghue said that whether the city is likely to get any money for the demolition would likely be decided by a conference committee — a group consisting of members from both legislative chambers.

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