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October 30, 2013

Ed Mullaney honored as he retires from city post

CUMBERLAND — Downtown Manger Ed Mullaney was honored Tuesday evening as numerous friends and colleagues came to a retirement reception held at the Saville Gallery on Center Street for the man who became a fixture of the downtown over the last 15 years as he spent countless hours promoting and managing the town center.

Mullaney gave his written notice in early October that he would be retiring from his post effective Oct. 31 to spend more time with his family.

City and county government officials, building owners, shop managers, business people, artists, friends and colleagues made up the crowd of around 70 people who attended the event.

“I feel like I’m on ‘This is Your Life,’ with Ralph Edwards,” said Mullaney.

Mayor Brian Grim bestowed Mullaney with a proclamation dedicating Oct. 30, 2013 as Ed Mullaney Day.

“Ed Mullaney worked tirelessly to reenergize and revitalize the downtown,” Grim said during the presentation.

Mullaney took the time to acknowledge many in attendance as he thanked them and affectionately told stories about his interactions with those who he feels also contributed to the success of the downtown over the years.

He also spoke with pride of many of the achievements Cumberland has made through the years.

During Mullaney’s tenure, some of the events and programs he started or assisted included: Friday After Five, Light the Steeples, the Saint Patty’s Day Hooley, The Farmer’s Market, Let’s Beautify Cumberland!, the Christmas Tree Lighting and the New Year’s Eve Ball Drop to name a few.

Sandi Saville, chair of the Downtown Development Commission, presented Mullaney with the first-ever model of the newly established Ed Mullaney Downtown Spirit Award, made by local artist and downtown resident Meg Romero.

The trophy design was of a lamp base holding a christmas tree light bulb. Saville said the DDC will select a winner of the award annually if they have someone who is worthy of the honor.

 Saville also presented Mullaney with a framed night photo of downtown Cumberland featuring the lighted steeples.

Light the Steeples was Ed Mullaney’s first successful project in Cumberland when he became the downtown co-manager with Sue Cerutti in 1998.

 Mullaney, who spent 30 years teaching in the Montgomery County school system, spoke of his time in both communities and how it inspired him.

“I’ve had two great careers. One teaching at Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School and one here,” said Mullaney.

Mullaney told the story of how at BCC High he was part of an effort to light the football stadium. He said in an area that was tough to create a feeling of community, the stadium lighting effort helped to create a sense of community there.

Mullaney said that experience stayed with him when he returned to Cumberland and began working downtown.

“That is where I got the idea to light the steeples in Cumberland,” Mullaney said.

After Mullaney retired from BCC, he said the school made a sizable donation to the Light the Steeples project.

“When the lights go on at night in Cumberland, I think of two places I call home,” said Mullaney.

Sen. George Edwards also gave a citation to Mullaney from the Senate of Maryland recognizing Mullaney’s years of service.

On the future, Mullaney said, “Changes are positive and give you a new endeavor.”

Mullaney said he has taken great pride in working with the downtown co-manager Jennifer Light.

Light, 28, who has been co-manger for one year, got her undergraduate degree in architectural studies from Virginia Tech before obtaining a doctorate in community development from WVU.

“I have huge shoes to fill. I know he will still be around and I will be calling him and bothering him,” said Light.

Light said that there are a lot of daily tasks Mullaney took care of that will have to be covered.

“Change can be a good thing,” said Light.

Light said the downtown managers office will be moving to the ground floor of City Hall. The building on Mechanic Street where the office is currently located is owned by Mullaney, who is converting it for different uses in the future.

“I’ve seen the changes while Ed was here. He made downtown come alive,” said Light.

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

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