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Hagerstown mayor: War good for urban renewal

HAGERSTOWN — Hagerstown Mayor David Gysberts told visiting German students he sometimes wishes his city had a war to clear out old buildings.

A video posted by The Herald-Mail shows the students from Wesel, Germany reacted Tuesday with startled laughter.

Gysberts is a high school guidance counselor who was elected to his first term in November. He didn’t immediately respond Wednesday to queries from The Associated Press about the comments, which apparently referred to World War II bombings of German cities.

Hagerstown was affected by the Civil War. The Battle of Antietam was fought about 12 miles away in 1862. In 1864, Confederate troops demanded and received a ransom of $20,000 to prevent them from burning Hagerstown.