COMMUNITY CITY CENTER PLAN
The City of Hagerstown retained Urban Partners to undertake a thorough economic analysis of its Downtown and identifiy catalytic initiatives that can generate momentum and encourage additional private investment. Initiatives were selected through broad community engagement -- we spent more than 130 hours meeting with members of the community through interviews, focus groups and workshops -- and were feasbility-tested through detailed market analysis.
These catalytic initiatives constitute The Community’s City Center Plan and include: office development; expansion of the Maryland Theatre; expansion of the University System of Maryland Hagerstown branch; hotel/conference center development; a multi-use trail flanked by new and rehabilitated housing; expansion of downtown programming and Farmers’ Market operations, and targeted home ownership incentive programs. The Plan provides a ten-year roadmap for public and private investment that is expected to total nearly $125 million and result in 463,000 SF of development, signficant increases in downtown cultural audiences, 875 new fulltime equivalent jobs and 200 units of new or rehabilitated housing. Since completion of our work in July 2014, The City of Hagerstown and its partners have worked aggressively to implement the Plan and Urban Partners has continued to provide targeted technical assistance.
A preferred developer for a 154,000 SF office development has been selected through an RFQ process and the project costs are being finalized. Funding has been obtained for three upper-floor renovation projects to provide USMH student housing, a developer was selected and students moved into the first four rehabilitated apartments this fall. Funding for the multi-use trail has been approved, decorative paving installed and public art throughout the trail -- including a mural that will flank the facades of four buildings -- will soon be added. New seating and an HVAC system have been installed at the Maryland Theatre and the Theatre has applied for funding for additional facility improvements.
Significant new downtown events programming has been added, including pop-up shop events, Friday night entertainment in the Public Square, expansion of the St. Patrick’s Day 5K to include a half marathon and operational adjustments at the City Farmer’s Market to allow for inclusion of new vendors. Additionally, the City has provided down payment assistance to nearly 20 families through the City Center Residency Initiative.