A complaint we hear frequently is that something needs to be done — repaired, replaced, have finished what was started ... whatever ... but nobody is doing anything about it.
This is a common lament here and in other places, but we’ve noticed that a lot of things actually are being done in Cumberland and elsewhere nearby.
The nearly five-year quest to have a statue and park honoring the late Major League Baseball Hall of Fame pitcher Robert Moses “Lefty” Grove was brought to a successful completion recently in his hometown of Lonaconing.
Sorely-needed new artificial turf is about to be installed and other major upgrades are scheduled for Greenway Avenue Stadium, the home field of Fort Hill and Allegany high schools’ athletic teams.
Some of Cumberland’s streets and infrastructure have been in bad repair, and work has been progressing on some of them, including North and South Mechanic Street.
Headway has been made in the struggle to repair or replace and reopen three railroad bridges in Cumberland’s West Side and attention is being focused on the deteriorating Baltimore Street bridge over Wills Creek. Funding is being obtained and design work is well under way.
Not all the news is good. There has been an $8.7 million setback in the redesign, renovation and infrastructure work on the downtown pedestrian mall. That’s the latest cost estimate on the project. (See: “Downtown mall work now expected to cost $8.7 million,”June 12 Times-News, Page 1A.)
Earlier estimates put the cost at between $5 million and $7.4 million, and there appears to be a funding shortfall of more than $5 million.
Neither have there been any new developments with regard to acquisition of properties for the proposed Cumberland Gateway Plaza site, which is sometimes referred to as the Rolling Mill project. (See: “No firm progress reported for city project,” May 2 Times-News, Page 1A.)
More than $6 million already has been spent on that project, which has been in the works for four years. Of the 69 properties in the target area, about a dozen homes remain in the hands of the owners who have no wish to sell them.
Paul Kelly, executive director of the Cumberland Economic Development Corp., said initial plans for the project assumed that all the properties would be acquired, but they may have to be “tweaked to adjust for any remaining homeowners if they so choose to remain there.”
And tweaked they should be. The possibility of eminent domain condemnation proceedings has been raised, but that would provoke considerable opposition.
The Times-News’ position all along has been that eminent domain should not be used for private economic development purposes.
Most recently, we learned that six new marbles rings are being constructed at Constitution Park. (See: “Constitution Park receiving new marbles courts,” July 8 Times-News, Page 1A.)
This may not seem like a big deal to most people, but to those who play marbles and have been fans of the sport since they were kids, it is.
Since the National Marbles Tournament started in 1922, Cumberland has had nine champions — six boys and three girls — Rick Mawhinney being the first in 1971 and Devon Lowendick most recently in 2015. Kobi Wright was runnerup in the boys’ competition last month.
The Mason Cup, a national tournament for participants typically 14 years old and older, will be coming to Cumberland for the third time in its 25-year history.
It’s named for Gene Mason, former Cumberland parks and recreation director who also was the longtime director of the National Marbles Tournament.
Constitution Park itself is one of the best things about Cumberland because of what it offers, including a renovated and now-first rate pool and facilities, picnic and cookout areas, summer day camps, playgrounds, a Little League baseball field, basketball court, tennis courts and an amphitheater where Summer Concerts in the Park are held.
Also to be upgraded are bathrooms in the grove near the duck pond and the grounds around the duck pond. We recently visited the duck pond for the first time in a while and will be glad to see it getting some attention.
The park is always well-maintained and a pleasant place to visit and rest under the trees or just to take a walk on the nature trail. There’s also a dog exercise area in the area once occupied by a deer pen.
It’s nice to see that we’re taking care of business.