March 17 – The City of Hagerstown’s work session yesterday got a little heated with two topics – Municipal stadium and the difficulties in communication between the City and the County.
Wes Decker, Communications Officer for the City of Hagerstown, discussed the issues on First News this morning. The question of what to do with Municipal Stadium since the Hagerstown Suns left the city last year has been a bit of a back-and-forth for a while now.
Most recently, a municipal baseball group put in a request to use the stadium temporarily during the upcoming season, but yesterday, Council Member Kristin B. Aleshire said he would like to see the stadium razed in favor of a turf facility.
The baseball group, while willing to pay $3,000 to the City of Hagerstown in monthly rent and perform upkeep at the stadium, would be the main tenant there. There would only be 14 days available for other events at the stadium during the seven-month contract with the baseball group.
Aleshire’s main issue with the contract is it lacks the spirit and intent of the original concept of just finding a temporary caretaker for the stadium. Requests for Proposals for a turf facility will go out soon, but won’t be back for another three months and the stadium will be sitting unused for that time.
The end result of this should come out in the next few weeks.
Discussion then turned to the lack of communication between the City of Hagerstown and Washington County.
A presentation from the Hagerstown Fire Department and their strategic five-year plan brought up the fact that the City and County seem to have a lot of trouble talking to each other.
The City has reached out to the County a number of times as it relates to emergency services and the County has had no inclination to respond to the City.
Discussion at the work session centered around emergency services between the two entities, but also got into tax differentials, and fair level funding, which the fire chief basically characterized as completely unfair.
There will be an item on an upcoming work session where the City will get more into its side of the lack of fairness as it relates to the tax differential.
So, where is the County in all of this?
Decker said, “There have been overtures made by the City to talk to the County about this for the last 15 to 16 months and the County has pretty much flatly refused to talk to the City about it. That is my understanding.”
Interestingly, the City and County offices are just down the street from one another.
“When it comes to geography, we’re certainly on different sides on this one…by miles,” Decker said.