Cumberland Times-News

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March 19, 2013

Footer Dye nomination heads to state

CUMBERLAND — After receiving a vote of support from the mayor and city council last week, the nomination of the Footer Dye Works building for placement on the National Register of Historic Places will now go before the Governor’s Consulting Commission on Thursday for approval, according to Doug Reed of the Maryland Historic Trust.

Reed, who feels positive about the nomination’s chances of approval, gave an update at the the regular meeting of the Canal Place Preservation and Development Authority on Tuesday.

“We should be in good shape on that one,” said Reed.

If approved at the state level, the nomination will go for final approval by federal officials with National Park Service.

The ultimate goal is to get a developer to bring tourism-related commerce into the historic, four-story structure, according to Canal Place authority officials.

“We are looking for heritage and tourism-related businesses. We want something that will add to what we have,” said Dee Dee Ritchie, executive director of the authority.

The next step for the restoration of the building will be a study conducted on the structural integrity of the roof.

“We have never really studied that roof. We need to so something with that because developers are going to have a problem with that,” said Reed.

All bids on the roof study will be due by April 22.

“I want them to tell us if we have problems,” said Reed.

“Once we have the study, we will know what has to be done. We can look for grants specific to the restoration of the roof. There may be some grants on the horizon,” said Reed.

It was also reported at the meeting that the repurposing of $125,000 by the city of Cumberland and the Downtown Development Commission — funds initially earmarked for a city marketplace project on the downtown mall — has been successfully transferred to Canal Place to help develop its Saturday farmers market and other projects.

In other Canal Place news, a presentation was made at the meeting by Barb Buehl, executive director for the Allegany County tourism office, on the impact that tourism has had on the area.

Revenue for Allegany County from the hotel/motel tax increased by the largest level in eight years, Buehl said.

The tax revenue broke the million dollar level in 2012 with a total of $1,120,942 received. The hotel/motel tax revenue for 2011 was $980,911, according to Buehl.

The Allegany County Tourism Office, which is funded by state, county and private sources, spent $92,000 last year advertising attractions in the area.

Buehl reported that the visitors center located in the Western Maryland Railroad Station received 27,376 visitors in 2012, a 7 percent increase over 2011. Visitors were reported from 34 states and 20 countries.

It was also announced at the meeting that Ritchie was selected to fill an open seat on the Cumberland Bicycle Advisory Commission.

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

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