Cumberland Times-News

Local News

January 12, 2013

City, DDC move closer on future of downtown

CUMBERLAND — Cumberland City Councilman David Kauffman addressed the Downtown Development Commission at its regular meeting Thursday to encourage goodwill between the DDC, the Economic Development Commission and the city on restoring the city’s vibrancy.

In prepared remarks, Kauffman said, “It is important to the mayor and city council that you know how valued the DDC’s involvement is to our city. We must work collectively to our common goal of to seek a return of prosperity to the city.”

Since the city’s Economic Development Commission released the Economic Development Strategic Plan in 2010, a growing concern had emerged that the suggestions of the DDC were not seriously considered by the city.

The DDC had felt, in addition to over-emphasizing office space rental, the plan did not seriously consider issues important to them such as retail recruitment, a lack of parking and Upper Story Residential Development.

Kauffman spoke to the DDC to reconcile those feelings by addressing the concerns.

“I think it is an issue of goal alignment and a lack of communication,” said DDC member Dave Romero. “There was no dialogue and we all need to be on the same page.”

“What happens is every day (downtown) empties out around 5 p.m. and the lights go out,” said Romero.

DDC members feel that getting people to live downtown to build up the area is an important part of the equation.

The city and it’s economic development branch felt the emphasis should be on increasing foot traffic through a focus on regional jobs, post- secondary education and population growth.

“Don’t think that the DDC’s issues were not considered at the meetings. They were absolutely factored in,” said Kauffman.

“We have to decide what we are going to have our two staff members in economic development work on, on a daily basis,” Kauffman added.

The DDC has felt strongly about drawing people to live downtown through a focus on USRD.

“Some people who don’t want the maintenence of home anymore may want to come downtown,” said DDC member Lee Schwartz.

Romero said, “There is a demographic that is moving in that direction that we need to capture for downtown. We need to have incentives for that, too.”

Kauffman reminded the group of the realities of the plans.

“Just because you have it in the plan doesn’t mean it will be a success. We have to increase foot traffic. To appeal to a business to look at Cumberland as an option, it must be profitable for them,” said Kauffman.

DDC members also want to open discussions on having special tax credits for new developers.

“City Administrator Jeff Rhodes was reviewing the idea,” said Kauffman.

Kauffman wanted to be sure the DDC is backed on any measures it feels important.

“I will support 100 percent any initiative the DDC decides to take on as priority,” he said.

Downtown manager and DDC member Ed Mullaney expressed delight on seeing some of the latest success stories in downtown.

“When I walk around, it’s great to see the lights of CBIZ burning at night and having 26 people now in Windsor Hall is fantastic,” said Mullaney.

He was speaking of the recent relocation of the Area Health Education Center and its staff to the former Windsor Hall building.

DDC Chairwoman Sandy Saville expressed concern over transparency with economic development and its meetings.

“As an attorney, I just feel there is too much secrecy. That causes one hand to not know what the other is doing,” Saville said.

Mullaney, Kauffman and others defended some level of privacy for potential clients due to an unfair advantage gained by competitors and others from the publicity.

The groups also felt it unfair that someone who wants to plan a project has to hear about it on the street or in the press before they have started.

The issue of privacy also came to light when Downtown Co-Manager Jennifer Light was not allowed to attend a recent economic development meeting.

Kauffman pointed out that discussions were going on how best to include downtown managers in the loop when possible.

“We have no mechanism in place for confidentiality. Controls have to be in place. I believe that including the mall managers into the plans in the future will be successful in the end,” said Kauffman.

Greg Larry can be contacted at

Text Only
Local News
  •  Easter grass Easter grass

    Kamryn Rice, 7, of Flintstone, finds and bags a plastic egg during Cumberland’s annual Easter Egg Hunt Saturday afternoon at Constitution Park. Hosted by the city’s Parks and Recreation Department, along with students from Frostburg State University’s Recreation and Parks Management program and the 4-H Youth of Allegany County, the afternoon also included games, relay races, face painting, temporary tattoos, arts and crafts, and a petting zoo sponsored by the 4-H Hare Raiser Club, as well as a visit from the Easter Bunny. The eggs contained candy and other treats.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Business community wary of minimum wage increases

    CUMBERLAND — Allegany County businesses are certain to be impacted by the increase in Maryland’s minimum wage, set to reach $10.10 an hour by July 2018 under a law championed by Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley.

    April 20, 2014

  • Tipped workers left behind in pay hike action

    ANNAPOLIS — Many minimum wage workers will be getting a raise now that a hike to Maryland’s wage has been signed into law. But while advocates are ascribing the increase as a win, there’s a bitter aftertaste for one group that was left behind.

    April 20, 2014

  • Views vary among Americans when it comes to hourly rate

    CUMBERLAND — Even among those who have worked minimum wage jobs, views on the minimum wage can differ.
    “Minimum wage has to exist. There is no question there, so whatever it is, it will be called ‘minimum wage’. But it should not be below a living wage,” said Bonita Quick of Cumberland.

    April 20, 2014

  • Income guideline change will increase WIC recipients

    KEYSER, W.Va. — Raised income eligibility guidelines for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children will increase the number of those served in West Virginia by about 10 percent, according to the state health officer.

    April 20, 2014

  • Absentee ballots moving online causes security concerns

    ANNAPOLIS — Voters may get to skip the lines at the polls this summer by receiving and marking their ballots online, but election officials must first decide if the convenience outweighs the security risks.

    April 20, 2014

  • Allegany County emergency medical services honorees and supporters Allegany, Garrett emergency responders honored

    MCHENRY — The 75 people from Allegany and Garrett counties who were involved with two exceptional emergency medical services calls in 2013 were presented with awards at the recent Night for Stars program held at the Wisp Resort.

    April 20, 2014 2 Photos

  • Lexis Trickett meets with Gov. Martin O’Malley Ninth-grader among 30 at inaugural event

    OAKLAND — Lexis Trickett, a ninth-grade student at Southern Garrett High School, was among 30 girls who attended Gov. Martin O’Malley’s Leadership Forum for Women and Girls recently in Annapolis in celebration of Women’s History Month.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • School immunization requirements change

    CUMBERLAND — Changes to school immunization requirements by the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene affect students entering kindergarten and seventh grade for the next school year.

    April 20, 2014

  • Easter experience Easter experience

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

Must Read
News related video
Raw: Easter Morning Delivery for Space Station Ceremony Marks 19th Anniversary of OKC Bombing Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Man Charged in Kansas City Highway Shootings Obama Awards Navy Football Trophy Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Raw: Church Tries for Record With Chalk Jesus Police Arrest Suspect in Highway Shootings Drought Concerns May Hurt Lake Tourism Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home Calif. Investigators Re-construct Fatal Bus Cras Appellate Court Hears Okla. Gay Marriage Case Horseless Carriage Introduced at NY Auto Show Chelsea Clinton Is Pregnant Beau Biden Plans 2016 Run for Del. Governor Flamingo Frenzy Ahead of Zoo Construction Obama: 8 Million Healthcare Signups Obama Hopeful on Ukraine, Will Watch Russians