Cumberland Times-News

Letters

May 8, 2014

Support needed to help make vision for waterway a reality

— A recent article in the Times-News shows that a person with a vision has brought forth a challenge to the local powers to be, and to everyone interested in the future of the communities along our waterway above the dam (“Local businessman’s plan to develop along river gets complicated,” May 5 Times-News, Page 1A).

George Merling, the owner of the old Moose Club building, has proposed turning the area next to his business into a park and recreation area.

His vision is shared by many in the area who have for years promoted the idea of returning the Potomac Queen Waterway to its former glory as a boating and recreational area. His idea of providing access to the waterway and turning the levee area from the current eyesore into a park like atmosphere is long overdue.

Even more exciting, Mr. Merling plans to make these changes using his own money.

Much can be said about the positive results to the city’s image that such an endeavor would provide but for now the emphasis needs to be on making this happen.

It’s obvious that many hurdles face Mr. Merling in his effort but anything is possible with the support of local powers, if they truly believe this effort is possible and make this an important part of their planning.

Many say its impossible to get permits from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to do such work, but there are exceptions to every rule if political power is behind such a plan.

Just below Mr. Merling’s business is a large pumping station to provide water for the canal re-watering project and an access road to the station. It seems the Merling plan would be far less invasive to the integrity of the levee than that of the pumping station.

The ball is now in the local powers court to follow through and decide if this project is important to the area and to provide the support needed to make it possible for Mr. Merling to complete his vision.

Gary Clites

Carpendale W.Va.

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