Cumberland Times-News

Local News

September 12, 2013

More video security cameras may be placed downtown; underpass conversation continues

Three residents attend first commission meeting following their appointments

CUMBERLAND — With three new members present, the Downtown Development Commission discussed a range of topics Thursday from adding video security cameras to the downtown mall to ways to keep open the underpass beneath the railroad tracks at Queen City Drive.

The regular meeting at City Hall was the first for the three new appointees.

“I’ve always been interested in downtown Cumberland. I hope to see if we are doing the right things to retain and attract business,” said Steven Leyh, owner of Away Media, 58 N. Centre St., a website builder.

Appointments for a seat on the DDC, which are for a three-year term, are made by the mayor and City Council. A total of five positions recently became open.

Interested parties, whether already seated or a new applicant, must submit required paperwork to be considered for a seat.

Two DDC members, Bill Shaffer, representing the City Lights American Grill at 59 Baltimore St., and Terry Michels of Queen City Creamery on Harrison Street, were approved to serve another three-year term.

Three positions came open when Andy Vick tendered his resignation due to his status of no longer being a city resident. Lee Schwartz, of The Book Center at 15 N. Centre St., was not reappointed. A third seat had been vacant for some time.

In addition to Leyh, rounding out the three newly appointed  positions are Jo Ann Circosta of 107 S. Centre St. and Sharon Mike of the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation, located in the Schwarzenbach Building.

Leyh occupies the community-at-large seat.

“We’ve been working in the downtown for about six months,” said Leyh. In addition to developing websites for businesses, Leyh’s company creates ads and develops social media packages for clients.

“I want it (the downtown) to grow and to see what steps can be taken for it to become vibrant in the future,” said Leyh.

During the meeting, Ed Mullaney, downtown co-manager, provided the DDC with an update on the underpass beneath the railroad tracks at Queen City Drive.

“The city and the CSX are looking at ways they can keep the underpass open,” said Mullaney.

In addition to the presence of trash, bottles, graffiti and standing water, the underpass suffers from excessive loitering.

Despite efforts to clean it up, including the installation of video cameras, the city, which claims it lacks the staff to monitor it, has grown increasingly frustrated with the underpass.

“No matter what we do it returns to the same condition,” Mayor Brian Grim has told the Times-News in past interviews.

Grim  favored closing it recently. However, CSX, which owns the portion beneath the tracks, has not been in favor of closing the tunnel passage.

“They (CSX) say it is a safety issue and we recognize that,” said the mayor.

Officials want the underpass to remain a safe way to cross the railroad tracks.

Grim said a recent meeting with CSX did yield some promising developments.

“CSX contacted us about resurfacing the tracks at the crossing to make it smoother for vehicles. We told CSX we would commit funds to the effort,” said Grim.

Grim has asked for CSX to consider helping to fund maintenance of the underpass through an agreement with a third-party contractor who would clean and maintain the tunnel.

“We are not yet committed to keeping the underpass open. If we can come to an arrangement for its care, we could consider it,” said Grim.

Mullaney has been getting estimates from companies that could provide for the care of the underpass. A decision will be made when the estimates are prepared and a meeting between the city and CSX can be arranged, according to Grim.

Adding additional video cameras on the downtown mall is another issue Mullaney brought up at the meeting.

“The current cameras in place on the mall do not provide adequate security coverage,” said Mullaney.

Mullaney has asked the DDC to consider getting estimates on additional cameras to help prevent vandalism, particulary late at night.

Lee Schwartz, who served on the DDC for more than 30 years, was honored with a certificate for his service.

He has operated The Book Center since the mid 1970s. According to Schwartz, his parents bought the business, then called The News Center, in 1954, making it one of the oldest operating businesses downtown.

Schwartz spoke following the recognition.

“The downtown is at a crucial point. We have lost over 200 jobs. We lost HRDC, Social Services, Chessie moved 40 people, and others. They were good-paying daytime jobs. It’s been a long time since something has been done about retaining and replacing businesses,” said Schwartz.

In an interview following the meeting, Schwartz remained hopeful for the future.

“I think the downtown has potential. The new broadband proposals could help,” he said.

Schwartz commented on the recent changes in the DDC personnel.

“We have new people. The council is looking for new ideas. We need them,” said Schwartz.

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

1
Text Only
Local News
  • Overturned tanker upsets Oakland Overturned tanker upsets Oakland

    OAKLAND — Two large commercial wreckers were being used at mid-afternoon Wednesday to upright a tanker full of liquid propane that overturned several hours earlier in downtown Oakland and forced evacuation of the business district.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Park Service opens Canal Classrooms Park Service opens Canal Classrooms

    CUMBERLAND – The National Park Service held a ribbon-cutting event Wednesday for a new program called Canal Classrooms, which will offer students pre-K through fifth grade accredited classwork on the Canal Place grounds.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • CODY EVERSOLE Eversole named 2014 Kelley Award winner

    KEYSER, W.Va. — Keyser High School senior Cody Eversole was named this year’s J. Edward Kelley Award winner during a ceremony Wednesday morning at Potomac State College.
    The award is presented to an outstanding male student-athlete in each year’s senior class.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • South Cumberland home rebuilt after fire South Cumberland home rebuilt after fire

    CUMBERLAND — A South Cumberland home destroyed by fire last July was given a second chance recently after the owner decided he wanted to remain a part of the neighborhood and had his house rebuilt.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Mineral BOE gives $18K to library

    KEYSER, W.Va. — The Mineral County Board of Education voted unanimously Tuesday to give the Keyser-Mineral County Public Library $18,000 for fiscal 2015 and to give the Piedmont library an additional $1,000 out of carryover funds.

    April 16, 2014

  • The Eichhorn family Local family says hosting New York City children in summer is ‘wonderful experience’

    CUMBERLAND — Sonya and Christopher Morgan of Cumberland always planned on a hosting a child through The Fresh Air Fund Volunteer Host Family Program. “Christopher always said once we had kids of our own we were going to do it. When our son turned 6 we said, ‘OK, let’s do it,’” said Sonya.

    April 16, 2014 2 Photos

  • City, county officials to talk baseball at work session

    CUMBERLAND — During today’s Allegany County Commission work session, a proposal to study the possibility of bringing a professional-level baseball team to the area will be vetted again, this time with participants from the city of Cumberland.

    April 16, 2014

  • Report: High-quality child care lacking in West Virginia

    CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — Child care programs of minimum or unrated quality are watching over about 93 percent of West Virginia children enrolled in them, a report released Wednesday said.

    April 16, 2014

  • JIM HINEBAUGH Hinebaugh seeks Garrett County commissioner post

    Jim Hinebaugh recently announced his candidacy for Garrett County commissioner. A Garrett County native and lifelong Republican, Hinebaugh graduated from Southern High School and attended Frostburg State University before entering the U.S. Army via the draft. After serving as an enlisted member, Hinebaugh completed Officer Candidate School and was commissioned as a second lieutenant. He retired as a colonel/06 in 1995 with almost 29 years of service including eight years overseas.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • In Brief - 04/17

    April 16, 2014

Facebook
Must Read
News related video
Boston Bombing Survivors One Year Later Sister of Slain MIT Officer Reflects on Bombing Raw: Blast at Tennessee Ammunition Plant Kills 1 Raw: Urinator Causes Portland to Flush Reservoir Hoax Bomb Raises Anxiety in Boston New York Auto Show Highlights Latest in Car Tech Ex-California City Leader Gets 12 Year Sentence Obama, Biden Announce $600M for Job Grants Miley Cyrus Still in Hospital, Cancels 2nd Show New York Auto Show Highlights Latest in Car Tech Disbanding Muslim Surveillance Draws Praise Passengers Abuzz After Plane Hits Swarm of Bees Boston Bomb Scare Defendant Appears in Court Boston Officials: No Bags at Marathon Town, Victims Remember Texas Blast Freeze Leaves Florida Panhandle With Dead Trees At Boston Marathon, a Chance to Finally Finish Are School Dress Codes Too Strict? Suspicious Bags Found Near Marathon Finish Line Boston Marks the 1st Anniversary of Bombing