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Two development groups to meet with Hagerstown officials Tuesday

April 22, 2013|By C.J. LOVELACE | cj.lovelace@herald-mail.com

Hagerstown officials will hear a report Tuesday afternoon from a real estate development group, which includes Sora Development, that wants to create a public-private partnership with the city for downtown redevelopment projects.

Officials with Ripken Design will also meet with Mayor David S. Gysberts and the Hagerstown City Council during a work session at City Hall to present its recently completed follow-up study that examines the feasibility of two alternative multiuse stadium sites.

The meeting will begin at 3 p.m., inside the council chamber at 1 E. Franklin St., Hagerstown. After hearing reports from both groups, the mayor and council will allow time to take public comment and questions starting about 6 p.m., according to the agenda.

In early March, the five-member city council signed a nonbinding agreement with local attorney D. Bruce Poole and Dane Bauer of the engineering firm Daft McCune Walker Inc., to act as representatives of the city to examine the prospect of forging a public-private partnership.

The agreement allowed Poole and Bauer about five weeks to meet with business representatives in the community as well as with state officials about garnering financial support for a public-private partnership that focuses on downtown redevelopment efforts.

Poole has met with staff members of several state officials, including Gov. Martin O’Malley and Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown, during the final few weeks of the legislative session in Annapolis.

When reached for comment Monday, Bauer declined to elaborate about he and Poole’s presentation to city officials.

“Everything went very well, but the details of it should really come out in a public meeting,” Bauer said.

Poole, who was not in his downtown Hagerstown law office Monday, could not be reached for comment.

Ripken Design officials Dan Taylor and Patrick Farno will formally present its alternative site analysis report before the council about 4:30 p.m. The city on Feb. 12 approved spending $11,250 for the second study.

The Baltimore-based firm in April 2012 completed a feasibility study for the previously eyed multiuse sports and events center in downtown Hagerstown near the corner of West Baltimore Street and Summit Avenue.

The new study looks at the former Washington County Hospital site and the current site of Municipal Stadium as well as a concept that involves a portion of the adjacent Hager Park.

Ripken Design officials said in the new report that the analysis uses the same form and approach as the initial study, “so that an ‘apples to apples’ comparison can be made between the downtown location and the additional locations.”

The 43-page report, which was made public last Tuesday, can be viewed on the city’s website, www.hagerstownmd.org.

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