Cumberland Times-News

Editorials

July 30, 2013

Just save it

We love our old and obsolete buildings

Americans, for whatever reason, have a devotion to preserving old buildings that have outlived their original purpose and are in peril of being subjected to the wrecking ball.

We who live in this area certainly are no strangers to this phenomenon.

Witness the the Queen City Hotel, a once-magnificent structure that was just over a century old when it was demolished. Built as a B&O Railroad station, it made way for a much smaller and far less fancy Amtrak station.

Periodically, someone will mention what a shame it was — more than that, a crime! — that the hotel was lost. We remember being in it some years before it was torn down, and feeling anxious to leave before it collapsed around our ears — so dilapidated was the place. Its condition was the result of years of poor maintenance and decades of pounding by vibrations from railroad traffic.

A similar fuss has surrounded the Footer Dye Works and the now-demolished “sawtooth” building (which was a disaster waiting to happen).

Some people want to save the Footer building for reasons that escape other people. However, it has been designated a historic property and therefore is immune to demolition. It is apt to stay that way. The cost of maintaining it by fixing the roof and stabilizing the numerous windows has proven considerable; a “money pit,” if you like.

Some years ago, officials in Lonaconing wanted to tear down a large firetrap of a building that somehow had found its way onto a historic register. Reason eventually prevailed and it came down, to the relief of most — if not all — in the town.

A similar brouhaha may accompany plans to raze Memorial Hospital and its medical building. Attempts to find a developer for the facility or a sufficient number of tenants to support it apparently have failed.

Old hospitals have this in common with old schools and old banks: They were designed and built specifically to be hospitals, schools and banks. Remodeling and repurposing them can be an expensive challenge.

A new use was found for the old Potomac Valley Hospital in Keyser, W.Va., which was taken over by Potomac State College for use as student housing.The biggest drawback for the old Memorial Hospital may be its sheer size. The former Keyser hospital was miniscule, in comparison.

We suspect that the land left vacant by the demolition of Memorial Hospital and its annexes will prove far more desirable to developers than the old buildings that occupied it.

1
Text Only
Editorials
  • We concur We concur

    We’re certain that Donald Rumsfeld, who served as Secretary of Defense under Presidents Gerald Ford and George W. Bush, echoes what many Americans feel about the complexity of filing income tax returns.
    When he filed his return, Rumsfeld sent the following letter to the Internal Revenue Service:

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • The first step The first step

    If all goes as planned, Frostburg State University will one day offer a doctorate in nursing, a physician’s assistant program and a new health sciences building on campus.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Where to look Where to look

    Drive anywhere in Maryland and it seems there is one highway construction project after another. While it is good to see our roads and bridges being upgraded, it can be nerve-wracking for anyone traveling a long distance.

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • Library week

    Public libraries remain one of the best uses of taxpayer dollars. They are open to all. Young or old, poor or wealthy, residents can use computers and read current magazines and newspapers. Compact discs featuring a wide variety of music and
    movies on DVD may be checked out in addition to novels and other books.

    April 13, 2014

  • Sunday hunting Sunday hunting

    Legislation that increases hunting oppportunities on Sundays in Garrett, Allegany and Washington counties has passed the Maryland General Assembly and reached the governor’s desk.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • One cannot compromise on God’s word

    A recent letter asked, “What is it about compromises that seem so undesirable?” Most of us are familiar with John 3:16, which says, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” The next verse goes on to say, “For God did not send his son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him”

    April 13, 2014

  • Ballpark project a partnership, not a government handout

    To the Editor:
    Regarding Mark Nelson’s recent objection to county government assistance to exploring the placement of a minor league baseball team in the Cumberland region, I would answer that the project should be considered a partnership between private enterprise and government. The private support would come by way of donations collected from local citizens, currently banked through the Dapper Dan Club.

    April 13, 2014

  • Editorial Cartoon Editorial Cartoon

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Decriminalizing marijuana lines pockets of drug cartel

    Has the Maryland government decided they like contributing to the drug cartel? Their new decriminalization of marijuana does nothing but line the pockets of the cartel.

    April 11, 2014

  • Speed cameras Speed cameras

    We’ve never been big fans of speed cameras, primarily for two reasons. First, because the cameras are not always accurate, and secondly because many jurisdictions seem to create revenue by installing cameras and issuing high numbers of speeding tickets.

    April 10, 2014 1 Photo