Cumberland Times-News

October 5, 2013

Firm explores retirement community in Cumberland

Matthew Bieniek
Cumberland Times-News

— CUMBERLAND — Allegany County commissioners approved a real estate option with a company exploring building a retirement community in Cumberland.

Mid-Atlantic, owners of Allegany Health Nursing and Rehabilitation, is the company exploring the retirement community idea. The financial consideration for the option is $5,000 for an approximately 30-acre parcel of undeveloped property adjacent to Furnace Street in Cumberland.

The option gives Mid-Atlantic an exclusive option to purchase the property if they decide to move forward with the project, “for an amount to be negotiated between the parties,” according to the agreement. The option remains available for one year. The option fee would be credited against a purchase price. The fee will be refunded if Mid-Atlantic de-cides not to go forward with the project.

Mid-Atlantic wants to complete a feasibility study on the proposal.

“From all perspectives, the planned ‘Active Lifestyles’ community will be a pleasing environment in which to live. Residents will be happy to call it home,” said Dr. Scott M. Rifkin, a local physician involved with the project.

If the project comes to fruition, it is expected to add from 35 to 70 full-time jobs, county officials said.

“It’s great to see a local business recognize an important unmet need here in our community and work to address it, and we are anxious for Mid-Atlantic to move this project forward,” said Commissioner Creade V. Brodie Jr. His sentiments were joined by Commissioner Bill Valentine.

“Our community is graying. It would be wonderful to have age-appropriate housing resources needed by our senior citizens,” said Valentine.

“The community would feature the entire continuum of retirement services, including independent as well as assisted living and would be focused on the middle income 55-plus population. There will be a spectrum of offerings to accommodate the interest of residents. Residents will have access to golf, social events, interest groups, a fitness center with classes, gardening, swimming and other amenities, a press release from the county said.

The AHNR facility is owned by a partnership, Allegany Healthcare Group LLC, which includes Cumberland business people and doctors. William E. Freas is the leader of the group. The AHNR facility is managed by Baltimore-based Mid-Atlantic Health Care, LLC. The partnership purchased the nursing home from the county in 2009, county officials said.

Also during the meeting, commissioners accepted the introduction of a local law allowing for a $3.6 million bond issue for water and sewer projects. If approved, the bonds would allow the county to borrow up to $3.6 million.

Many of the loans involved have loan forgiveness provisions. A hearing on the bill will be scheduled, likely at the next county commission meeting on Oct. 10. Among the projects that could be funded by the bill are those at Rawlings, Bedford Road, Braddock Run and Jennings Run, said County Finance Director Jason Bennett.

Matthew Bieniek can be contacted at mbieniek@times-news.com.