Cumberland’s downtown could get a nice shot-in-the-arm if city officials succeed in finding a developer for the former Allegany County Human Resources Development Commission building across the street from City Hall.
The building has been vacant ever since HRDC built a new office building and senior center on Virginia Avenue in South Cumberland in 2009.
Councilman David Kauffman has commented several times that the downtown building could be an ideal site for secondary education use or perhaps as some type of medical facility. Both of those ideas seem like valid possibilities.
The central location of the building, its proximity to a parking lot and parking garage, its spacious size and Georgian Revival-style architecture should be good selling points for the city. Jeff Rhodes, city administrator, told the Times-News the building was built with great care when it was constructed just after 1900 for use as a courthouse.
The Cumberland Police Department occupied 19 Frederick St. until the present-day Public Safety Building at North Mechanic and Frederick streets was built several decades ago. HRDC then took over the building and used it for offices and a senior center before moving to South End.
Proposals for a re-use of the building will be opened Feb. 28 at City Hall. If the city receives a proposal that — in the words of Kauffman — will serve the public good, 19 Frederick St. will once again see new life — and help invigorate the area around City Hall.