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December 12, 2012

Canal Place needs $50,000 to cover dye works windows

Director puts total repair cost of Footer building at $9.5 million

CUMBERLAND — The Canal Place Development & Preservation Authority is trying to secure a $50,000 emergency grant through the Maryland Heritage Area Authority to finish covering windows as part of an ongoing stabilization of the Footer Dye Works building.

Canal Place Executive Director Dee Dee Ritchie offered the information as part of an update on the project she gave during a meeting of the Cumberland Historic Preservation Commission held Wednesday at City Hall.

“I got a conditional approval (for the grant) last month,” said Ritchie. “I hope to know something soon.”

“How much would a total rehabilitation cost?” asked Attorney Matt Gilmore, the newest member to the commission.

“The total cost inside and out is estimated at $9.5 million,” said Ritchie.

Costs are hoped to be helped by a developer.

“We sent out a RFP (request for proposal),” said Ritchie. “We’ve had 13 to 14 responses.”

“On Friday we will meet with some of the people who want to see the building,” said Ritchie.

Ritchie addressed the option of tearing down the four-story, 31,000-square-foot building and its challenges.

“According the the Maryland Historical Trust guidelines, we are to preserve the building,” said Ritchie.

The Maryland Historical Trust wants every effort made to keep the structure.

“You have to have exhausted all means to keep it,” said Rit-chie. “We have not done that.”

Ritchie pointed out that inspections have been done.

“It’s in great shape structurally,” added Ritchie. “It’s a great building.”

Concerned with current economic conditions, Ritchie expanded on the positive side of Canal Place and Footer Dye Works after the meeting.

“Tourism is big business. We continue to try to help the community and not hurt it,” said Ritchie.

“If the funds were not coming to Canal Place, they’d go elsewhere like downstate,” added Ritchie.

She also pointed out that Canal Place is maintaining itself and cited the income from Fairfield Inn and other tenants.

“Canal Place is sustainable. What is generated from tenant leases, festivals and grants makes us sustainable,” said Ritchie.

Greg Larry can be contacted at glarry@Times-News.com.

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