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January 28, 2022

Hagerstown talks projects to be funded using Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act cash

Credit: Herald Mail-Media, Michael D. Garcia

The city of Hagerstown might see funding from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act for several projects, including the widening of Professional Boulevard.

U.S. Rep. David Trone, D-6th District, met with Emily Keller, mayor of Hagerstown, to discuss the road project and two other projects in need of funding now. Widening Professional Boulevard has been discussed as long as Keller has been in office, she said during a tour of the area this week.   

Other projects discussed were infrastructure improvements to Wastewater Pump Station 33 and a new parking deck on West Antietam Street.

“Right now, as with any time we could potentially get money from the federal government, we’re just kind of waiting to hear what the rules are,” Keller told The Herald-Mail. “It’s kind of a waiting game. Like, we’re excited, we know there’s money coming, but we’ve got to wait and see what the final rules are.”

The $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act was passed in November 2021. It authorizes funds for federal-aid highways, highway safety programs, transit programs and other purposes. 

The issue with the bill is understanding whether or not funds would come from the federal government or the state, Sonny Holding, district director for Trone, said during the meeting.

Early this month, state lawmakers announced that the state of Maryland will receive $400 million from the bill over the next five years to improve bridges and create jobs.

“I think that we’re out in the lead,” Trone told The Herald-Mail. “We’ve worked on this since December — to try and get out in the district, meet with everybody and find out what exactly the needs are.”

Trone said he hoped to create a “menu” of what the needs are for the district.

Professional Boulevard

The city is looking for funds to widen Professional Boulevard. The project would widen existing Professional Court to a four-lane connection between the city of Hagerstown and vital community resources.

Professional Boulevard is less than a mile away from Meritus Medical Center. Trone said that the area has the biggest EMS station in the area that receives 1,000 calls a day. He added that EMS would benefit from this project.

“They could go straight to Meritus (from Professional Boulevard),” Trone said. “Instead, they have to go around Robinwood Drive to get to Meritus. (The shorter distance is) a life-saving win all around.”

The project includes approximately 1,300 feet of roadway widening, ADA-compliant sidewalks, traffic signal improvements and connection to the new 300-foot multispan bridge. 

In addition to connecting a pathway to Meritus Medical Center, Hagerstown Community College would benefit from additional access via Professional Boulevard as well.

The city of Hagerstown received $1.2 million from the Appalachian Regional Commission and requested an additional $1.1 million in federal funds. Federal funds could be used for up to 80% of the cost — $2.4 million has already been requested.

The city will fund a 20% match of $600,000. The construction cost estimate is $3 million.

Construction is projected to start in fall 2022.

Wastewater Pump Station 33

Low water pressure in the East End of Hagerstown has been a concern for several years now. A new water pump station on Hebb Road potentially will be funded as well.

Nancy Hausrath, utilities director for the city of Hagerstown, said during the meeting Tuesday morning that the area is ripe for growth.

“We need to be able to provide top-of-the-line services there,” Keller added.

The project will allow for future commercial and residential development in the Dual Highway corridor and replace aging infrastructure. 

The project includes the construction of the wastewater pump station, 2,400 feet of gravity sewer main, 4,000 feet of sewer force-main and the elimination of the existing Pump Station 9.

The city of Hagerstown is requesting $3 million from the Maryland Department of the Environment to complete construction.

West Antietam Street parking deck

The city is also requesting a third parking deck to be built in downtown Hagerstown.

“We have had a plan for some time to have a third parking deck,” Keller said. “The city needs one anyway, with the development of downtown. But of course, with the stadium going in, it’s perfect timing.”

A multiuse sports and events stadium has been in the works and is expected to be completed “likely in 2024,” according to Rodney Tissue, city of Hagerstown engineer.

The parking deck would include 380 parking spaces and would provide business-hour parking for District Court, local restaurants and will provide parking for the multiuse sports and events facility.

Keller said the parking deck and the stadium would be built simultaneously. The city of Hagerstown is looking for state or federal financial support.

The construction cost estimate is $9 million.

‘Infrastructure projects aren’t sexy’

Keller said the city is asking for these funds from the infrastructure bill to “alleviate the debt burden on the city of Hagerstown.”

“You know, infrastructure projects aren’t sexy,” Keller said. “They come with a high price tag, but they’re important for the citizens of Hagerstown and beyond.”

She said she is excited regardless and that “Hagerstown is on a path that we haven’t been on in a long time.”

Trone said the next step is I-81.

I-81 has been an issue for Washington County for several years as well.

“We got to get those interchanges fixed and finish the whole 81 project,” Trone said. “We think now, we’re going to get that over to the finish line sometime next year, hopefully.”

Hagerstown is expected to see these funds sometime this year.