Cumberland Times-News

March 12, 2013

City OKs preservation

Endorses putting Footer Dye on register

Michael A. Sawyers
Cumberland Times-News

— CUMBERLAND — With Mayor Brian Grim and Councilwoman Nicole Wagoner abstaining, the city’s elected officials voted 3-0 Tuesday to endorse the Historic Preservation Commission’s recommendation to nominate the Footer Dye Works building to the National Register of Historic Places.

Councilman David Kauffman addressed issues brought to his attention by those who oppose the move.

“Some want it torn down, but Maryland owns the building and has said it won’t be razed, so our endorsement has no bearing on that matter,” Kauffman said.

Kauffman said that the federal money for preservation is dedicated and cannot be used for other city projects.

The endorsement, the councilman believes, will send a positive message to private developers to undertake preservation of the unique building. “It’s not a city taxpayer question,” he said.

Post-vote comments by Sean McCagh, who opposes the nomination, included a prediction that voters will oust those who chose to endorse.

“Do you think you are smarter than the people who elected you? What you are doing is politically risky,” McCagh asked.

Kauffman countered. “It’s frustrating to hear the threat of future elections based on a single issue,” he said, adding that he weighed both sides before coming to a conclusion.

Rick Thayer of the Canal Place authority thanked the city, not only for the vote, but for a recent thorough discussion of the pros and cons of preservation. “The building is stabilized and is not a hazard,” Thayer said.

In other actions, the city approved outside alcohol consumption Saturday from noon to 10 p.m. in the core downtown area. In addition, officials approved closing a number of streets there.

Cumberland Police Capt. Greg Leake said Monday that the streets will be closed from noon to 2 a.m. with parking prohibited.

Those streets include:

• Centre from Harrison to Bedford.

• Union, with access to parking garage from George Street remaining available.

• Liberty, with access to public parking lots remaining available.

• Pershing.

City resident Kenneth Wilmont protested that action, claiming that public consumption of alcoholic drink sends the wrong message to young people.

A first reading to sell 1002-1012 Virginia Ave. to Sean D’Atri for $30,000 was approved.

Officials approved a change in the city’s purchasing policy, allowing payment of up to $25,000 without a full bidding process.

Rhonda’s Corner Tavern, 171 N. Centre St. will be allowed to have outside cafe dining on that sidewalk as well as the one on Hanover Street.

Contact Michael A. Sawyers at msawyers@times-news.com.