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County Comment: Commissioners Hear Parking/Transit Concept

CUTLINE: County Parks employees help repair a porch at 111 East North Avenue during the United Way Day of Caring. County employees assisted elderly citizens with home projects in cooperation with REACH Caregivers.

County Comment
Commissioners Hear Parking/Transit Concept
by Norman Bassett, Public Information Officer
Washington County, Maryland

On September 30th, the Washington County Board of County Commissioners saw the first draft of a concept plan for development of a parking lot and transportation hub on property the County owns at the intersection of West Franklin Street and North Prospect Street in Hagerstown.
Director of Public Works Joe Kroboth brought the plan to the Board for informational purposes only. The lot would feature 86 parking spaces for public and employee use, as well as bus "terminals" and shelters on both streets, serving as the transit transfer point.
Kroboth told the Board that the plan would cost approximately $1.5 million, with some $700,000 from federal transportation grants. The plan would call for razing of an existing apartment building, which is not occupied, at the west corner of the property.
Needs of businesses and property owners in the immediate area were discussed, as well as the original concept, which called for green space and landscaping in the parking area. The possibility of a parking deck being constructed on the site was also under discussion.
Commissioners suggested that Public Works take a second look at the plan.
In other actions on September 30th, Deputy Director of Engineering Rob Slocum told the Board that the Maugans Avenue project is could be completed in the end of October. A budget transfer of $553,168.97 from the budget of the now-complete Mount Aetna Road-U.S. 40 intersection project to the Maugans Avenue project was approved. Increases in the cost of asphalt contributed to the need for additional funds.
Planner Jill Baker brought a request to approve Text Amendments to the Comprehensive Plan to the Board. The amendments dealt with revisions to the Priority Preservation Area regulations. Commissioners wanted an additional week to discuss the proposal, and the issue will be reviewed at the next meeting.
In an evening meeting at Williamsport, Jack Hall was appointed to serve on the Fire and Rescue Communications Advisory Commission.
Town Citizens commented on the PATH power line project, on a housing issue, and heard a final report on the Charter Home Rule Board.
The Commissioners approved advertising a Senior Office Associate position at the Agricultural Education Center.
Also approved was a $400,000 reduction to the Highways Department budget due to state cuts to the state Highway User Fund. The state cuts affected 6 line items, including public safety radios, fencing repairs at the Southern Section building in Keedysville, contracted maintenance, rental for special-purpose heavy equipment, road maintenance supplies and materials, and traffic control supplies and materials.

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