dec. 28—CUMBERLAND — City officials said Tuesday plans for an April 3 start for the $15 million downtown renovation project are moving forward.
An update on the plan, officially titled the Baltimore Street Access Project, took place during a mayor and City Council work session at City Hall.
Cumberland Major Ray Morriss said funding has been secured and the contractor is ordering supplies.
“It’s going to happen,” said Morriss. “It’s all good. We are still looking at April 1 but that is a Saturday so probably April 3 (to start).”
The project was first introduced in 2016 during the administration of former Major Brian Grim. At the time, the project had a price tag of $5 million. Over time, the project scope increased and the American economy changed considerably.
The project includes replacement of underground utility lines and installation of high-speed fiber optics cable. Following the subterranean work, Baltimore Street will be reinstalled through the pedestrian mall as a one-way access road traveling east from Mechanic Street. The new street will supply 18 parallel parking spaces and a bicycle lane.
Cosmetic work will feature shade trees, newly designed parklets including a waterfall at the corner of Liberty and Baltimore streets, and outdoor privy at Mechanic Street, as well as stormwater drainage and plants and shrubs.
The City Council selected Triton Construction of St. Albans, West Virginia, to perform the work. At the time the city had $12.5 million in funding secured in the form of city, Allegany County, state and federal grants. Morriss said all additional funding has been identified.
“It’s all coming together. It’s pretty much a done deal,” said Morriss. “It’s ordering the materials. I was talking to him last Saturday, the project manager for Triton.”
Matt Miller, executive director for the Cumberland Economic Development Corp., said a meeting has been scheduled for all downtown business owners and leaseholders to prepare them for any disruptions that could occur during the 18-month construction process.
Miller said the stakeholder meeting will be Feb. 23 at City Hall at 6 p.m
“It’s a public meeting for all interested downtown stakeholders, businesses or residents whose livelihood could be adversely affected by the project,” said Miller.
According to Miller, finishing touches have been put on a mitigation plan designed to help business owners cope with issues involving parking, front and rear access points, utility service scheduling and any other potential disruptions.
“Staff will be on hand to go over the plan and answer questions and hopefully create some peace of mind as we near the project’s fruition,” he said. “The CEDC and Melinda (Kelleher) from the DDC (Downtown Development Commission) will be handing out hard copies of the mitigation plan to those individuals and answering questions.
“I think the outreach we have done so far has gone a long way in opening the lines of communication, so we are looking to hopefully build upon that.”
Greg Larry is a reporter at the Cumberland Times-News. To reach him, call 304-639-4951, email [email protected] and follow him on Twitter