Cumberland Times-News

May 9, 2013

DDC updated on latest happenings at Canal Place

Greg Larry
Cumberland Times-News

— CUMBERLAND —  In a meeting of the Downtown Development Commission on Thursday, members were informed of two new businesses opening downtown and were also updated on the latest activities at Canal Place.

In an effort to include the various local agencies in future plans, Dee Dee Ritchie, executive director of the Canal Place Preservation and Development Authority gave a presentation to the DDC on its latest projects.

Ritchie discussed her efforts to create a welcoming area as an official trailhead for the Great Allegheny Passage.

The members were also told of Canal Place’s efforts to have the Allegany County Health Department test the water quality of the North Branch of the Potomac River to see if the water quality is safe enough to proceed with the idea of establishing a canoe and kayak river access.

“We have this beautiful river running through our city. It’s a great resource that we need to use. We’ve also been approached by outfitters interested in working with us on this,” said Ritchie.

A meeting that is open to the public is scheduled for June 6 at 5:30 p.m. at the Allegany Museum on the topic.

The larger River Project, which would include removal of the dam beneath the Cumberland-Ridgeley (W.Va.) Bridge, will be discussed with several experts present.

Serena McClain of American Rivers, an organization based in Washington that helps secure funding for river cleanups, and Jim Thompson of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources will speak at the meeting.

It was also disclosed that two new businesses are locating downtown.

Vugatti’s Pizza and Caribbean Grill will open in early June in the former Kelly’s Station building on Mechanic Street.

The Peacock, located on the downtown mall, is being opened by Patricia Peacock, an artist from Levels, W.Va. She will exhibit and sell works of art.

Ed Mullaney, downtown manager, reported that the fencing around the two planters at the east end of the mall has been completed.

The DDC decided to use temporary green wooden fencing for the planters while a more permanent solution is researched.

It was also announced that Friday after Five opens today with entertainment by the country group Midnight Rodeo, with Ricky Howsare and the Washington Middle School Jazz Band also performing.

The Saturday Farmers’ Markets will start on June 8.

Greg Larry can be contacted at