Cumberland Times-News

Local News

July 15, 2014

$150,000 grant awarded for new Footer building roof

Canal Place authority still in negotiations with developers

— CUMBERLAND — Officials with the Canal Place Preservation and Development Authority said Tuesday that the heritage area has received a $150,000 grant to replace the roof on the historic Footer Dye Works building.

News of the grant was disclosed at the Canal Place authority’s regular monthly meeting. Canal Place officials also said that negotiations that began in early June between two firms that have expressed interest in developing the Footer building, were still ongoing.

“We are still in negotiations with a potential developer. Once we have the contracts signed, we will be in a position to publicly announce the name,” said Dee Dee Ritchie, executive director of Canal Place.

Unconfirmed reports indicate Michael Joy Development of Washington, D.C., and Steve Chaney Architects of Cumberland have expressed interest in the Footer property.

Michael Joy was contacted recently by the Times-News but declined comment on the project until the process becomes public. Attempts to reach Steve Chaney were unsuccessful.

Canal Place officials declined to say whether they had selected one firm to move forward with in the negotiating process.

Rick Thayer, chairman of the Canal Place authority, said he also could not give a timeline for the Footer building negotiating process, but said that he hoped to have a deal in place soon because it was advantageous to the developer and Canal Place that the federal tax credits were applied for by the deadline at the end of August.

“One of the features of the project are federal tax credits and there is an August 31 deadline for that application. Certainly, we hope to have the agreement with the developer signed and ready to go in time for them to complete their tax credit application,” said Thayer.

The $150,000 in funding received for the new roof for the Footer building was obtained through a Hurricane Sandy Relief Fund Grant. Canal Place officials said a timeline for beginning the process of selecting a contractor to complete the roof work had not yet been established.

In other news from the meeting, Canal Place officials have applied for a $75,000 Community Legacy grant to install windows and doors on some of the shops at Canal Place.

“If approved, it would put in back windows so vendors can vend out the back of their building on the festival grounds and to give them another back door entrance to bring things into the building,” said Ritchie.

Ritchie said that the Maryland Heritage Area Authority has approved three new grants: a $100,000 management grant for Canal Place, an $85,000 grant for locomotive restorations at the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad and a $24,000 grant for the Downtown Development Commission for events programming.

The Canal Place authority is also reviewing the ending times for events held on the festival grounds at Canal Place. Officials with the Fairfield Inn and Suites, located adjacent to the grounds, told Canal Place officials that they had recently had to rebate more than $1,000 in room charges due to noise.

“Now that we are doing a lot more live events at the festival grounds, that affects the Fairfield,” said Thayer. The traditional ending time for events has been 11 p.m.

Some authority members said 10 p.m. should be the cutoff on weekdays and 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. The Canal Place authority agreed to allow Ritchie to use her discretion when setting the closing times for events in the future.

Canal Place officials also said they have entered into a contract with Chaney Architects to design and oversee the development of a marketplace, including permanent shelters, to enhance the farmer’s market events held on Saturdays.

Greg Larry can be contacted at

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