Cumberland Times-News

Opinion

June 10, 2014

Good as new

Thanks to those who cleaned up gazebo area

— It’s always refreshing to see someone come forward without being asked in order to address a situation when other people are ... the temptation is to say, “wringing their hands” ... and wondering what to do about it.

We therefore express our gratitude to those members of The Garden Club of Cumberland, Let’s Beautify Cumberland! and the four community service workers who spent five hours cleaning up the area around the gazebo in Riverside Park near George Washington’s Headquarters.

The area had been closed to the public due to renovation on the Crosstown Bridge overhead and had become a hangout for loiterers who littered the place with beer cans and liquor bottles and decorated it with graffiti.

The State Highway Administration moved the orange containment fence so the cleanup could be performed. Thanks to them, as well, for allowing this to happen.

Riverside Park isn’t what it used to be, in more ways than one. It was considerably bigger and attracted many citizens to its recreational opportunities. It shrank considerably after creation of the flood control project — an equitable trade, considering the havoc that floods had wrought in downtown Cumberland.

What’s left of the park and Canal Place in general are a community asset, and while some parts have been well-maintained, others have not. Lack of funding is often blamed.

Now, thanks to the work of volunteers, the gazebo is once more the attractive, pleasant place to visit that it was designed to be. Some vigilance will be necessary to keep it that way, and to deter the loiterers and vagrants who were trashing it, with police presence if necessary.

It’s a different story with the walking bridge that was installed a number of years ago to allow tourists and others a shortcut across Wills Creek from Canal Place to Riverside Park.

It has fallen into shabby disrepair, with an abundance of rust and peeling paint. The Canal Place Preservation & Development Authority is responsible for it, but says there’s no money for maintenance.

What will become of it?

Let’s just say that’s one more bridge we’ll have to cross when we come to it.

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