It’s time to get some restaurants to downtown Hagerstown

December 14 – Hagerstown Mayor and Council had a work session yesterday afternoon where the group talked restaurants. 

Mayor and Council discussed the reallocation of ARPA (American Rescue Plan Act) funding to create a city-wide restaurant grant program with $250,000 in the coffers. 

Council suggested that marketing, advertising and branding be eligible for the funding as well.  

Wes Decker, Communications Officer for the City of Hagerstown, said, “Also that there would be a maximum amount. There had not been a cap put on that by staff. There was no minimum or maximum. The mayor brought up chain restaurants, would they be eligible? The answer from staff was yes. So initially council said we don’t think the chain restaurants should be eligible, but once they decided that they would put a $50,000 cap on amount, they said then everyone would be eligible. We’ll continue to work on that. I believe the suggestions that were made will all be put into a package that will be presented to mayor and council next week for a vote.” 

This would be for existing restaurant spaces or spaces where a restaurant could go in and the funding is to help those who have the idea. It’s a one to one match with the investor and the grant money. 

Decker said, “If all goes well, applications could be taken by the end of this year and then would go to a review committee.” 

In terms of local chains, like Chick-fil-A, that could be an option. 

Decker said, “You have local operators who do a lot for the community and within the community. So with that $50,000 cap now put on the total amount the council felt a little bit better about including all chain restaurants including those who are operated locally.” 

The Program Open Space annual application process is open now. The city has three priorities that include renovating the visitor’s center at Johnathan Hager House, the Antietam Creek waterway trail and Hagerstown Field House. 

Decker said the Antietam Creek waterway trail “had received POS back in 2020 about $45,000 there, so this would be continuing that project…those are the three that were on the list. Council agreed to all of those for fiscal year 2024. The list of projects will now go to Washington County and will be submitted by December 29.”

The final meeting of 2022 for Mayor and Council will be December 20 and the mic will be open for citizen comment.