Municipal band, losing practice space, plays on Longwell Armory to keep Westminster group in tune -- but only for a while

August 13, 1998|By Brenda J. Buote | Brenda J. Buote,SUN STAFF

Westminster Municipal Band, which expects to lose its rehearsal room when the local Fire Department moves this fall, has found temporary practice space.

"We've agreed to use the [Longwell] Armory," said bandleader Gregory Wantz. "As far as long-term, I don't see [the armory] working out."

The band, a Westminster institution that was formed 105 years ago, has been rehearsing since 1993 on the third floor of Westminster Fire Company on Main Street. The department is scheduled to move to a new building on John Street in October.

The Main Street building is for sale. Max Realty of Owings Mills has a contract on the building. Company President Robert Max could not be reached for comment yesterday.

The band is looking for a room of at least 800 square feet. Wantz said a large space is needed because the band must store instruments and uniforms, as well as its sheet music, trophies and memorabilia.

Wantz said he hopes the band will be allowed to return to the old stone building on the Farmers Supply Co. site, where the group had practiced for years before moving to the firehouse. The stone building is being renovated.

Carroll County Bank & Trust Co., a subsidiary of Westminster-based Mason-Dixon Bancshares, is redeveloping the Farmers Supply site at Liberty and Green streets into a $6.6 million office and retail complex.

Construction at the 1-acre parcel, about a block south of Main Street, will include a two-story office center above a three-level parking garage and a five-story retail tower.

The stone building, which dates to the 1860s, will be renovated by Westminster Town Center Corp. and sold or leased to another party.

The nonprofit group recently received a $75,000 grant from the state's Neighborhood Business Development Program to help fund the project, which will cost about $400,000. Construction is expected to be completed by Oct. 30, 1999.

Pub Date: 8/13/98

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