By C.J. LOVELACE
5:17 PM EDT, November 1, 2012
The City of Hagerstown on Thursday released a new artist’s rendering of what the proposed downtown multiuse sports and events center (MUSEC) may look like if it were built.
The street-level drawing is a follow-up to the “bird’s eye view” design, which was debuted at the Oct. 9 public information meeting, that shows the overall footprint of the preliminary plan for the facility, according to city Engineer Rodney Tissue.
The biggest change from previous depictions, the field’s orientation at the site was flipped, moving the location of home plate closer to West Baltimore Street rather than near the Herald-Mail building as it was first drawn up.
Tissue said this change was in response to comments from citizens who live near the site.
The overall goal was to divert potential foot traffic away from Summit Avenue and toward West Antietam Street, where the city plans to build a parking deck and plaza entryway into the facility. The change also helps create a direct link to the downtown area, Tissue added.
“Primarily, just trying to get all the foot traffic and all the activity over in the plaza and coming off Antietam Street to minimize what’s on Summit Avenue,” he said.
The change in orientation also helps limit the possibility of foul balls landing on properties along Summit Avenue, Tissue said.
The main gates into the MUSEC would be accessed from West Antietam Street. There would be no entrance along Summit Avenue, but there may be an additional gate on the West Baltimore Street side, Tissue said.
By changing the ballfield’s orientation, it also allowed the city to retain more of the Herald-Mail parking lot, at the request of company officials, Tissue said.
“We didn’t have it in the old plan, but in this plan it shows 50 or 60 spaces over in that corner,” he said.
This new plan also allows the possibility of having parking available underneath the site that would be accessible from West Baltimore Street, Tissue said.
According to the drawing, citizens who wanted to catch a baseball game, in theory, wouldn’t even need to purchase a game ticket if they just stood along the sidewalk on Summit Avenue outside the facility.
Tissue said other downtown ballparks, like the one in York, Pa., encourage people to watch the game from the outside, especially kids. That “open window” into the stadium could help attract new patrons, he said.
“Their philosophy was (if) they’re interested in the game, eventually they’ll be inside,” Tissue said. “... It kind of entices you to want to go when you see how nice it is.
“What you see in that is basically what we’ve seen in other communities; just a lot of positive activity in the downtown,” he said of the new drawing. “I think it just demonstrates what could happen there.”
HKS, a comprehensive architectural firm with offices across the globe, created both renderings. Tissue said the city has been working with HKS officials from Richmond, Va.
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