Cumberland Times-News

Opinion

May 12, 2014

It’s a mess

Area around Canal Place being neglected

— More police patrols are needed to cut back on the graffiti, littering and loitering plaguing the area behind Canal Place and in the area near George Washington’s Headquarters.

The problem was disclosed in an article in last Friday’s Times-News. Reporter Greg Larry and photographer Steve Bittner found badly peeling paint and rust on the walking bridge that spans Wills Creek. Graffiti marred the gazebo sitting beside George Washington’s Headquarters. Beer cans and liquor bottles were strewn about the gazebo area.

The situation reminds us of the city’s neglect of the Baltimore Street underpass. From time to time the city has attempted to clean up the underpass and rid it of litter and graffiti. But the effort only lasts so long before the underpass becomes forgotten.

There were a number of explanations given to us about the Canal Place problems.

 Dee Dee Ritchie, executive director of the Canal Place Preservation & Development Authority, said the walking bridge is her agency’s responsibility, but there is no funding fixing the rust and peeled paint. It’s unfortunate that the bridge could not have been placed on the Day of Caring and Sharing list that volunteers tackled last Friday.

Jeff Rhodes, city administrator, said the triangular plot of ground between Wills Creek and the Potomac River is closed because of work on the Crosstown Bridge overhead. He said since the public is not using the area, loiterers are frequenting the area. All the more the reason for patrols.

Mayor Brian Grim said Riverside Park is critical to the downtown’s appeal to tourists. That being the case, we’d suggest finding emergency money to remove the graffiti and paint the walking bridge.

What shouldn’t be done is continuing to neglect eyesores and vagrants.

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