Cumberland Times-News

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February 14, 2013

DDC mulls new plans

CUMBERLAND —  The Downtown Development Commission voted Thursday to repurpose $100,000 in state bond money to Canal Place to bolster outdoor projects like the Saturday farmers market.

“The bond money is for a city market that is held on a property that is not privately owned,” said Kathy McKenney, the city’s liaison to the DDC.

The state-owned Canal Place is a better site to match bond guidelines, according to McKenney.

“A condition is that we have to match the bond money dollar for dollar,” said Andy Vick, DDC member and president of the Canal Place Development and Preservation Authority.

While downtown has a farmers market on Thursdays, Canal Place began holding one on Saturdays last year and plans to bring the activity back this summer.

DDC member Tony Ottaviani spoke about the possibility of creating a shuttle between downtown and the new casino at Rocky Gap.

“I speak to members of Rocky Gap at (Ristorante Ottaviani). They feel a shuttle may be good. When people stay for two or three days, they will want to get out. They will also want to eat at some different venues,” said Ottaviani.

The commission agreed to look into the shuttle venture.

The DDC also considered samples of railings to be used to create a rim on the planters located downtown. Samples in from Rusco Home Improvements were presented.

“We have eight planters that are about 14 by 21 feet,” said Downtown Manager Ed Mullaney.

The DDC is interested in having decorative Victorian railings in place this summer.

“It will be aesthetically pleasing and the Victorian style fits in with downtown,” said Mullaney.

The DDC voted to approve the two planters at the east end of the mall for black railings, with a budget of $4,300 per planter.

Funds were approved  for one planter and additional financing will be sought from downtown businesses for the second.

It was proposed to seek a capital grant from the Maryland Heritage Area Authority to fund railing for all eight planters.

The upcoming dates were verified for St. Patrick’s Day activities: the Hooley Plunge at Rocky Gap on March 2; Frostburg’s Shamrock Shuffle on March 9; and Cumberland’s Hooley Pub Crawl on March 16.

Interest was expressed in developing activities on the Monday following Delfest with bluegrass bands and specials downtown. The event would be held to take advantage of the many concert goers who remain in town due to the Memorial Day weekend.

Commission member Doug Schwab suggested it may be good to hold at least one annual joint meeting between the DDC and the Downtown Cumberland Business Association.

The commission is also exploring some type of all-day parking arrangement for downtown employees.

Downtown Co-Manager Jennifer Light announced a Facebook presence under the name “Main Street Cumberland.”

The DDC also agreed to support Light attending the National Main Streets Conference in April. The cost for the three-day event is expected to be between $1,300 and $1,600.

“I have been to the conferences before. They are very educational and it’s good for Cumberland to have a presence there,” said Mullaney.

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

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