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By KAUSTUV BASU | | April 2, 2013
Gov. Martin O' Malley's supplemental budget includes $6.4 million in additional money for a state-based disparity grant, about $1.55 million of which is likely to come to Washington County in the county's general fund, according to Del. John P. Donoghue, D-Washington, and House Speaker Michael E. Busch, D-Anne Arundel. The supplemental budget also sets aside $100,000 for a downtown redevelopment study for Hagerstown. “I've been asking for this money,” Donoghue said, cautioning that the House and  Senate would have to come to an agreement on the items.
By C.J. LOVELACE | | March 11, 2013
Hagerstown Mayor David S. Gysberts sounded optimistic Monday talking about the city's two “representatives” authorized Friday to begin downtown redevelopment talks with local stakeholders. “They can start moving, but I think the thing that's crucial is that it's nonbinding and it's nonexclusive,” Gysberts said. “And it's time limited, so it's not like we're selling the farm and there's a whole lot of risk. There's really no risk.” City officials on Friday signed an amended letter entering into an agreement with Hagerstown attorney D. Bruce Poole and Dane Bauer, senior vice president of the engineering firm Daft McCune Walker, who represent a real estate investment group that also includes Towson, Md.-based Sora Development and Skanska Construction, a multinational company.
By HOLLY SHOK and C.J. LOVELACE | and | March 8, 2013
Despite some changes in wording ordered after an impromptu meeting Friday morning, City of Hagerstown officials signed a nonbinding agreement later Friday to allow a real estate investment group to act on the city's behalf in developing a vision for downtown redevelopment. The amended version, a copy of which was obtained by The Herald-Mail on Friday night, was signed by Mayor David S. Gysberts and four of the five city council members, with Councilman Kristin B. Aleshire being the only signature line left blank.
By C.J. LOVELACE | | March 5, 2013
Hagerstown officials plan to sign a nonbinding agreement Friday morning to allow a real estate investment group to act as the “agent” of the city and get its master downtown redevelopment plan in motion. “I think it's the first time in probably over 20 years that we've had such a meeting, and I think that speaks of the importance of the issue and the belief that this needs to be done promptly,” City Councilman Lewis C. Metzner said Tuesday, adding that they preferred to meet Wednesday but forecasted inclement weather forced them to select Friday at 7:30 a.m. Once the one-page letter is signed, it authorizes the development group to talk with businesses and community stakeholders on the city's behalf to develop a proposal of “catalyst” projects as a starting point for redevelopment at no expense to the city, Dane Bauer of the engineering firm Daft McCune Walker told Mayor David S. Gysberts and the Hagerstown City Council at City Hall on Tuesday night.
By DON AINES | | February 25, 2013
Hagerstown is the core of Washington County and should be its priority redevelopment project, representatives of the Sora Group told members of the Hagerstown-Washington County Economic Development Commission and the Board of County Commissioners on Monday. The Sora Group, which has been trying to get the city to sign onto public-private partnership to redevelop the downtown, was invited by the EDC to brief its members on the proposal. The meeting had been in the works for a couple of weeks, EDC Vice Chairman Ron Bowers said.
By DON AINES | | February 24, 2013
Most Washington County residents have not obtained four-year college degrees, an educational gap that could hamper redevelopment efforts, according to an economic development strategic plan. “Washington County is at the lower end of the educational attainment spectrum in terms of percentages of its residents 25 years of age and older having four-year college degrees and graduate and professional degrees,” says the report, compiled by Urbanomics Inc. on behalf of the Hagerstown-Washington County Economic Development Commission and the county Industrial Foundation, or CHIEF.
February 21, 2013
By its own hand, the Washington County Board of Education has delayed moving its central offices into a modern, professional space - probably for longer than prudence warranted. But for better or worse, accommodating the needs of the administration has been considered politically toxic, especially in the days when temporary classrooms dotted the landscape. But the rapidly deteriorating condition of the board's Commonwealth Avenue offices no longer can be overlooked. Projected repair costs are now well into the millions of dollars, and even these fixes would be akin to holding an auto body together with bailing twine.
February 13, 2013
The City of Hagerstown's proposed 2013 public facilities bond issue totals $4.15 million, including a little more than $1 million toward supporting the city's General Fund, a city official told city council members Tuesday. Michelle Burker, the city's director of finance, said the General Fund portion of bond proceeds is made up of $250,000 toward the demolition, site work and reclamation of the former Municipal Electric Light Plant property as well as $346,000 for a 50 percent down payment on a replacement Engine 1 firetruck.
By C.J. LOVELACE | | January 30, 2013
About 25 people attended a public meeting Wednesday night to offer input and ask questions about a proposed redevelopment project in Hagerstown's East End that aims to create a new eastern “gateway” into the city. Meritus Health, which owns a large portion of the 15 acres of property between East Washington and East Baltimore streets that includes the former Washington County Hospital site, has been working with consultants for the past 10 months to develop a study and marketing analysis of the area.
By C.J. LOVELACE | | January 29, 2013
A public meeting to gain input into the proposed redevelopment concept plan for the former Washington County Hospital properties in Hagerstown's East End will be held this week. The meeting is scheduled for Wednesday at 7 p.m. in the council chambers at City Hall, 1 E. Franklin St., city spokeswoman Erin Wolfe said in a news release. Wolfe said consulting partners of Meritus Health, which owns the largely vacant tracts of land between East Washington and East Baltimore streets, plus a large parking lot along Mill Street, will present their plan to the city's planning commission and the public to receive feedback from both groups.
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