Cumberland Times-News

Opinion

September 23, 2013

City needs to reconnect with Potomac River

A river runs through Cumberland.

Recently, there has been an expressed interest to relink Cumberland with the Potomac River. The river is an asset to the community that is currently providing little or no benefit to the city. It is an important connection with its historical and cultural development. If you visit Canal Place, you might never see the river. The levees and the flood control projects create a huge disconnect between the city and the river.

Cumberland needs to reconnect with the Potomac River. This commentary explores the synergistic relationship between the river, the Riverwalk experience (Reno Whitewater Park), and Canal Place. As noted in my previous commentary, the desire to revitalize the Potomac River through Cumberland probably has more in common with Reno, Nevada than the San Antonio River Walk. Reconnecting with the river involves flood control and the Riverwalk in San Antonio is not practical in terms of the degree of its development and flood control. However, a more limited development such as Reno’s whitewater park is potentially a more workable solution to the highly developed Riverwalk concept. Also, flood control needs to be addressed. More on this later.

Facing a similar problem to Cumberland, Reno wanted to reconnect their city with the river and to make the river a viable asset for the community. The highlight of their efforts was the whitewater park which includes an amphitheater on Wingfield Island within the park. Their whitewater park is a water park that offers kayaking, tubing, rafting, and swimming. The amphitheater provides cultural and special events for the community.

In addition, there are paths and trails upstream and downstream of the park, naturalizing of the levees, and a return of the river to a more free-flowing condition. With Canal Place, the C&O towpath and the bridge and tunnel to Carpendale much of the infrastructure is already in place. Also, extending the trail along the river and through Ridgeley can make an effective loop trail along the river.

Reconnecting with the river requires a supporting infrastructure. For the most part, this infrastructure has already been created with Canal Place. Canal Place is an infrastructure in search of an attraction. Normally, tourist attractions create an attraction and then the infrastructure is built to support it. The scenic railroad illustrates this point. The railroad is the attraction and an infrastructure has been developed to support it.

For the local population, there are currently few incentives to go to Canal Place. And, hopefully Canal Place will be able to solve their funding issues in the near future. Canal Place is in search of an attraction or a reason for people to go there.

The Cumberland Whitewater Park can offer that attraction. Like the whitewater park in Reno, it can provide an attraction for the local community that provides sufficient economic benefit and tourism dollars to the community. For example, the Reno Recreation and Parks Department sponsors an annual whitewater festival. Currently, this single event attracts between 45,000 to 50,000 people a year with roughly 28 percent of those attending from out-of-town. A river runs through Cumberland. A whitewater park is potentially the missing attraction for Canal Place. It is an attraction for Canal Place that has developed an infrastructure but is in search of an attraction. It reconnects people with the river.

Moving water is a natural attractant and the development of a whitewater park in Cumberland provides a reason for the local population to go to Canal Place. As in Reno, it generates tourism dollars also. The whitewater park becomes an important link in a synergistic relationship in reconnecting Cumberland, Canal Place and the Potomac River.

Robert B. Kauffman

Frostburg

1
Text Only
Opinion
  • 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

  • Translations differ, but the message is eternal

    This letter is in response to a recent letter titled “One cannot compromise on God’s word” (April 13 Times-News). I had previously written a letter titled “Why are compromises so difficult to achieve” (April 7).

    April 15, 2014

  • Closing the loopholes will help clear the regulatory waters

    After a decade of uncertainty over Clean Water Act jurisdiction following Supreme Court challenges in 2001 and 2006, the Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps of Engineers announced a forthcoming administrative rule to close enforcement loopholes, restoring protections to 20 million acres of wetlands, more than half the nation’s streams, and drinking water for 117 million Americans.

    April 15, 2014

  • The first step Remember where your freedom comes from before criticizing

    The deal at Fort Hood could have been avoided if it was caught in time.
    When you think a GI is not acting right, have him or her checked out before you put them back on duty and give them a weapon. Post-traumatic stress disorder is a serious and dangerous problem if it is not taken care of right away.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Where to look Where to look

    Drive anywhere in Maryland and it seems there is one highway construction project after another. While it is good to see our roads and bridges being upgraded, it can be nerve-wracking for anyone traveling a long distance.

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • Midterm elections give chance to return to American values

    A movement has been started by veterans of our armed forces to get out the vote in 2014. That includes Coast Guard and Merchant Marine personnel for those not familiar with the history of both and their sacrifice. This is no small special interest  group, but many millions of Americans who can have an enormous impact on the  outcome of the November election if they all respond.

    April 14, 2014