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Hancock mayor wants county help to reopen fishing bait and tackle shop

Daniel Murphy also an encouraging economic report and pitched an idea for a new library

April 10, 2013|By DAVE McMILLION | davem@herald-mail.com

HANCOCK — Mayor Daniel Murphy gave an encouraging report Tuesday night about business growth in town but asked county officials for help in bringing back another business and pitched an idea for a new library.

Evolve Composites, which manufactures heating and air-conditioning condenser pads, Handi-Block lightweight deck piers and other products, has moved into the former Fleetwood building.

Murphy said the company has been doing well and is expected to increase its work shifts. Also, local businessman Jerry Spessard has invented a device that automatically will call balls and strikes at home plate in baseball games and he plans to start manufacturing the devices in a building next to Evolve Composites, Murphy told the Washington County Board of Commissioners during a meeting at town hall.

Murphy then looked for help from the commissioners to re-establish a fishing bait and tackle shop along Canal Street.

The Reel Deal Bait & Tackle show was destroyed in a fire in February and Murphy said the owner wants to re-open the business, Murphy said. But town officials are worried about obstacles the owner might face as a result of wanting to build in the waterfront area.

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Town officials have been told that state regulations might require that the shop be elevated to a certain level under certain circumstances. Or some hydrology work might have to be done at the site before the business is re-established there, according to Murphy.

Like other towns along the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park, Hancock has been working to capitalize on tourism associated with the towpath and they said it is important to help the bait shop get back into business.

“We need him to sell some minnies and ice cream,” Murphy told the commissioners.

“That has become our second Main Street,” said town manager David Smith, referring to businesses in the area of the canal.

Murphy said he wants the commissioners to support the idea for the new shop in case there are problems from the state.

In the meantime, Commissioner Ruth Anne Callaham asked about setting up a temporary structure for the bait shop. Smith said that has been discussed.

There has been discussions about replacing War Memorial Library and whether a new library should be built in Widmyer Park or downtown. Murphy said the cost of building the library downtown has been estimated at about $3.7 million but he thinks building it in the park could be as low as $1 million.

Murphy said he hopes the less expensive alternative will allow the library to be built sooner.

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