Cumberland Times-News

January 14, 2014

Politicians are not the answer to problems with our tourism

To the Editor:
Cumberland Times-News

— As someone who has been involved for over 45 years in the Allegany County tourism effort I can tell you that what we have today in infrastructure and programs is due mainly to the work of private citizens who cared about saving historic structures and developing sites and programs to serve the tourists.

When the politicians got involved and pushed many of these citizens out of the way the problems started to develop. Currently the politicians are the perfect example of someone with power but no knowledge.

What do the mayor, council members, county commissioners, General Assembly delegation know about the whole tourism effort?

They know how to dismantle it, defund it and destroy the only possible entity that shows promise for the future.

I have personally urged them to form a county tourism commission made up of citizens with experience in these matters to develop a tourism plan that will move us forward in tourism for the future.

This plan would make it possible for future elected officials to know what to do and how to do it. It would avoid the mistakes made recently, like dismantling the transportation museum in Cumberland, the chaos at Canal Place, the defunding of tourism projects by diverting the tourism tax to other things etc.

We have people who could fill these seats like Doug Macy, Howard Buchanan, former mayor Tom Conlon, Melvin Collins and others representing groups all over the county who run tourism events like Mt. Savage Iron Rail, Oldtown History House, etc.

The only forward looking tourism person who was hired in recent years, Angela Reynolds, stayed one year because the powers that be would not sign a contract with her.

She did more to open up the communication between all levels of tourism that any other person. It has been a downhill slide ever since her departure.

Get this train back on the track and donʼt leave it up to the politicians.

Mary C. Miltenberger, president

Allegany County Preservation Society

Cumberland