Former Hagerstown Mayor David Gysberts oversaw the beginnings of the Cultural Trail project, aiming to revitalize downtown and boost tourism.
But newly-elected Mayor Bob Bruchey has taken a different tone on the project.
He doesn’t believe certain aspects of the trail will actually be an economic draw for Hagerstown. He said the plan is built on new residential townhouses and an increased tax base, but he’s not sure when the city will get a return on that sizable investment going towards the trail.
Even though Bruchey wasn’t in support of the trail initially, he said now, everyone needs to see how it can help build up the core of the city. Connecting the Arts & Entertainment District and City Park, the city said it’s now fully walkable, with public art projects still waiting in the wings.
“Spending anywhere from $2.2 to upwards of $4 million on that project alone – that’s a huge chunk of the citizens’ money that we’re spending,” Bruchey said. “But it’s here. We’re not going to tear it up. We’re not going to do those kinds of things. So, now we have to focus on, what do we do to bring people to that trail?”
The mayor also said that, at the end of the day, it’s all about turning in a balanced budget – and that issues like retaining qualified employees, especially in the police department, will be one of his top priorities.
In City Council, three of its members who were a part of the Urban Partners Plan are returning after their re-election.