To the Editor:
Pushed by stale leadership for nearly three decades, who say they are trying to retain our “suburban” character, our town Cumberland is now left with empty store fronts, vacant office buildings, and a steady line of cars heading out of town. Cumberland has become little more than a summer tourist stop and a place to stop in and get gas. Locals head north to Altoona, Pa., and east to Hagerstown to find high-end restaurants, better shopping, and, most importantly, better jobs.
During the past 30 years, the state’s politicians and a handful of state activists have embraced a no-growth policy in Maryland. Their anti-development anti business stance has resulted in many local industries leaving the area. The Kelly-Springfield Tire Co., PPG Industries, Celanese Fibers and other large payroll employers simply were pushed away with nothing coming in behind them except more prisons and more inmates.
Our area is slowly dying the same death that has occurred in many other cities across Maryland. Our state’s politicians have lobbied for years against building new modern housing developments pushing or cramming cumbersome state regulations onto our local leaders, which explains why our area lacks modern development. We suffer rundown, dilapidated housing in many areas.
Maryland’s “no-progress” policy and the states anti-business stance has also killed local businesses. Today, the downtown Cumberland shopping district, which was once called the “Queen City” and a major hub of activity, has a 40 to 50 percent vacancy rate with many other businesses in the local area struggling to survive, as well.
Instead of attracting new business into our state, Maryland has kept up a steady pace of pushing good-paying industrial jobs out and away from the state. These jobs, which include steel mills, natural gas drilling operations and wind power projects, all have been pushed away by Maryland’s harsh anti-business climate.
The crisis in Cumberland, and across Maryland for that matter, can only be solved by bringing in good-paying jobs and a stable payroll base. The sooner, the better.