Cumberland Times-News

Opinion

January 6, 2014

Save what’s left of the Footer Dye Works

Please don’t play political football with our historic landmarks.

The four story “remnant” of the Footer Dye Works complex is a historic and economic asset that needs to be preserved and operated by a private owner on a for-profit basis, and the sooner the better.

 It is an imposing landmark that can provide useful living space or workspace after it has been restored and renovated to give it a new financial life.

There is now a plan in place to finally offer the structure, along with enough land to support financially feasible development by a new taxpaying, private sector entity.

There is plenty of land now to support both the restoration and use of Footer Dye Works and a modern restaurant with adequate parking for both.

There are many examples to point to over two decades that show success with downtown Cumberland historic properties that were given a second life through utilizing state and federal historic tax credit programs.

 Some of the examples of successful restoration projects include McMullen Brothers/G.C. Murphy Co., the former Zembower Hardware Co., Former E.V. Coyle Furniture “Windsor Hall,” former Goodwill Building, Klott’s Mill on Gay Street and the Towers-Decatur Heights projects on Glenn Street at Henderson Boulevard.

All of these buildings were renovated privately with the help of existing state and federal historic restoration tax credits.

 All of these projects were conceived, funded, built and leased up during the time that Trestle Development had Footer Dye Works, the Sawtooth Addition, and the surrounding lands tangled up under options with Canal Place.

All of the other buildings created jobs during their construction, and now support themselves through rental income provided by their residents and business occupants.

They went from unused and unwanted eyesores and are now providing the downtown Cumberland district with safe, functional and desirable residences and workspaces, along with the financial and human activity that downtown Cumberland needs.

 The old, tall and narrow 33,000 square foot mill building was recently listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is an absolutely unique structure in this area.

It is beautifully detailed and structurally sound. Once it is gone it is gone.

Similar mill buildings have been renovated and given a new financial life while preserving the historic character of their neighborhoods all over the U.S. and the world.

They could have been demolished, gone forever. Instead they were transformed into successful housing and work spaces to meet existing local demand while preserving important architectural history.

Canal Place has recently made strides to clear the way to get it developed privately, following a locally and globally proven and successful recipe.

 The stage is finally set to attract as much as $4 million private dollars to redevelop what remains of the Footer Dye Works.

Canal Place has finally opened a window of opportunity to attract a serious and qualified private developer to restore and repurpose all that remains of Footer Dye Works, with enough land left for a restaurant with a suitable parking lot.

This can now happen without further cost to Canal Place, the city, county or state beyond what was offered for the list of successfully completed projects in downtown Cumberland.

 Please don’t turn this historic landmark into a pile of rubble using taxpayer dollars. Not now.

Doug Macy

Cumberland

1
Text Only
Opinion
  • Street flowers Street flowers

    Walk along Frostburg’s Main Street in the spring and summer and one can’t miss the beautiful floral arrangements that adorn the lampposts.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • President and Obamacare: Who needs Congress?

    Being a fellow from a small town like Cumberland I don’t always really understand what’s going on in Washington. But I have watched a few houses being built over the years. I even helped some with one house, but my brother fired me from that work pretty quickly, mainly because it was his house being built.

    April 22, 2014

  • Sweet Success Business Forum this evening in Frostburg

    As a member of the Frostburg Business and Professional Association (FBPA), I am pleased to inform the community of the “Sweet Success” event sponsored by the city of Frostburg and our organization.

    April 22, 2014

  • First base First base

    The idea of spending up to $7,500 for a study about the possibility of bringing a minor league baseball team to the area should at least be allowed to reach first base.

    April 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • You can help United Way reach its goal

    The United Way of Allegany County campaign for 2013-14 will end April 30 and to date has raised more than $430,000, which is over 86 percent of its goal. But there is still $70,000 to be raised in a very short time.

    April 21, 2014

  • Support Canal classrooms with tax-deductible gift

    While your April 17 article (“Park Service opens Canal classrooms,” Page 1A) described this exciting program accurately, your readers may be wondering how they can help support this new educational opportunity for school children in Allegany County.

    April 18, 2014

  • Ivan Hall story brings back memories of a unique man

    I enjoyed Mike Sawyers’ Ivan Hall story. It was well written and brought back some wonderful memories of my Cumberland days and especially, an unique man.

    April 18, 2014

  • It’s a secret It’s a secret

    Could someone enlighten us about why not even the names of the two entities bidding on development of the Footer Dye Works building can be divulged?
    A Times-News article about the bids included an explanation from a lawyer for the attorney general’s office about the need to keep the names and other information secret at this time. Despite that, the logic of not divulging at least a little more information escapes us.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • What do we do about those who weren’t criminals after all?

    Now that Maryland has become the 17th state to (finally) decriminalize possession of marijuana, one could say that the legislature and governor should be patted on the back for doing the right thing.

    April 17, 2014

  • The first step The first step

    If all goes as planned, Frostburg State University will one day offer a doctorate in nursing, a physician’s assistant program and a new health sciences building on campus.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo