Cumberland Times-News

Local News

January 15, 2013

Canal Place adds temporary events planner position

CUMBERLAND — The Canal Place Development & Preservation Authority approved the addition of an events/promotions planning position during its regular meeting Tuesday in an effort to increase activity there.

“We have money in the budget for it. It’s strictly a six-month contract,” said Dee Dee Ritchie, authority executive director.

“They can really focus on programming at the festival grounds and maximizing the use of that very wonderful space. It’s difficult for the existing staff to do it.”

“We’re not ready for a full-time person but we want to see if we can jump-start some of the activities that we need to happen on the ground there,” said Andy Vick, authority board chairman.

“Do you feel the person will bring in so much added revenue that their salary will be taken care of?” said board member Nick Scarpelli.

Ritchie stated she did feel the adding of a person would help in many areas.

“Yes, not just for Canal Place but the entire heritage area and future expansion,” said Ritchie.

Progress on the revival of the four-story historical Footer Dye Works building continues. The authority plans on renovating the structure to attract a developer.

Doug Reed of the Maryland Historical Trust asked for approval on the next phase of obtaining bids for a current engineering study of the Footer building and to bid for exterior masonry repair and new gutters.

“The engineering services will include the entire building, not just the roof, and would result in a full set of plans for corrections for any structural updates we may need to make,” said Reed.

Reed also said the study will allow them to verify that they are proceeding within required building codes.

The masonry work is to close holes in the exterior and to make the structure more attractive, Reed said.

Money for the next phase is coming from a recent $50,000 grant from the Maryland Heritage Area Authority and leftover money from past grants from the Community Legacy Program.

The authority also extended the deadline for proposals from potential developers for the Footer Dye Works project to Feb. 18.

“We hoped to have some news on it for the PACE Reception. But several developers are interested and we want to give them more time,” said Ritchie.

The PACE reception is being held in Annapolis next week and the authority plans to attend to promote Canal Place.

A 3 percent rent increase for tenants in the Western Maryland Railway Station was also approved.

“Considering the utilities have gone up and we pay all the utilities, it’s needed,” said Ritchie.

Ritchie also announced an upcoming newsletter from Canal Place.

“We are going to do digital for now. But maybe we can mail something out later,” said Ritchie.

The Western Maryland Scenic Railroad will celebrate its 25th anniversary in 2013.

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

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