Cumberland Times-News

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April 10, 2013

Footer needs Feds’ OK

George Washington’s headquarters could get ramp

CUMBERLAND — The nomination of the Footer Dye Works building to the National Register of Historic Places has been approved by the state and will now go for final approval before the U.S. National Park Service, according to Kathy McKenney, the city’s historic planner and preservation coordinator.

The news of the approval by the Governor’s Consulting Commission for the historic four-story structure to proceed to a final federal vote was disclosed on Wednesday during an update by McKenney at the regular meeting of the Historic Preservation Commission at City Hall.

“The fact that it’s continuing to move forward is a positive because it’s now one step closer to having an obstacle removed from being able to develop that property,” said David Kauffman, city council member and ex-officio member of the Historic Preservation Commission’s board.

A listing on the national register would make the building eligible for a 20 percent federal tax credit, an attractive incentive for potential developers, city officials have said.

The state of Maryland currently owns the property.

“Our responsibility is to try to remove obstacles for people to develop property in our city. If we are going to grow our population we have to do a better job of removing obstacles for development,” said Kauffman.

McKenney said no date has been scheduled at this time for the final determination by the National Park Service.

In other news from the  meeting, Dave Umling, city planner, presented a plan to add a 22-foot American Disabilities Act approved ramp leading up to George Washington’s Cabin on Greene Street.

The wood ramp with railings would be nearly five feet wide and would approach the cabin porch from the right.

However, the visual appeal of a ramp of such proportions leading to the diminutive cabin caused considerable debate with board members.

“It seems like a huge ramp for such a small building,” said Cheri Yost, HPC chairperson.

“This is going to change the aesthetics of something that his been around here for (many years),” said board member Matt Gilmore.   

Several members expressed a desire to see other designs developed that were of a less noticeable nature.

Yost expressed concern with the amount of railing needed more than the ramp itself. She asked about the possibility of a concrete approach.

HPC board member Doug Macy thought that building up the earth to a level that would meet the porch would be a possible solution.

Umling agreed to return to engineers to develop additional design possibilities for the project. The HPC agreed to table the idea until additional options could be reviewed.

It’s hoped the ramp can be installed by June to take advantage of available grant money. A budget of about $6,000 is available.

The HPC also approved signs for use at a new business at 68 Pershing St. called Cartridges Galore.

The new venture will be opening at noon on Monday. Garrett Eagan will operate the business, which will trade in early-era games like Atari, Sega-Genesis, Nintendo and others. They will buy, sell, trade and refurbish games.

“It’s a retro video game store. There’s a big market for that now,” said Christopher Hendershot, who is assisting Eagan in opening the store.

“We’ve done a lot of selling online, but we want to keep the games in town.”

Greg Larry can be contacted at glarry@times-news.com.

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