City to find homes for downtown furnishings prior to mall work

Published: January 6, 2023

by Greg Larry


CUMBERLAND, Md. — City officials are looking to dispose of, or find homes for, nearly 100 items on the downtown mall that must be moved before renovation work gets underway in April.

Numerous light poles and fixtures, benches, bike racks, railing and trash receptacles must be moved to allow construction crews to begin excavating for the first phase of the Baltimore Street Access Project. Triton Construction of St. Albans, West Virginia, was selected through a bid process to perform the $15 million project.

The first phase of the project will include replacing underground infrastructure and adding high-capacity broadband fiber optic cable. In the following phase, workers will resurface the pedestrian mall with new pavers and reinstall Baltimore Street as a one-way vehicular thoroughfare running west to east. That phase will include adding a drainage system.

In the final phase, workers will construct new parklets and install trees, shrubs and plants. The entire project is expected to take 18 months to complete.

“One thing we need to talk about is the distribution of downtown assets,” said Councilwoman Laurie Marchini during a Tuesday City Council work session. “We’ve had several groups inquire about them.”

City Administrator Jeff Silka said, “If the contractors don’t want it, we should look to get rid of it as soon as possible before construction starts.”

The largest group of items is 68 light poles that must be removed, city engineer Bobby Smith said.

“The existing street lights have zero salvage value to the contractor,” said Smith. “If there is an organization that could possibly coordinate (obtaining them) with the contractor in a reasonable fashion, we can have that discussion with them.”

Smith said the lights could not be repurposed by the city due to there antiquated style and reinstalling them would be too costly.

In regard to benches, bike racks and trash receptacles, Ken Tressler, director of administrative services, said, “We have a lot of parks around town where that stuff could be repurposed.”

Cumberland Mayor Ray Morriss said, “Before we go to a first-come, first-served (process), the city should come first. If there is something we can use at Constitution Park or the Centre Street playground, locations like that, we want to look internally first (for reuse).”

Marchini said the bike racks and benches could possibly be used around Canal Place or along the trailhead at the Western Maryland Railway Station.

Individuals or organizations that may be interested in acquiring any of the items should get in touch with City Hall by speaking with Tressler or Smith.

A meeting for downtown landlords, business owners and residents will be held Feb. 23 in the Allegany High School theater at 6 p.m. The meeting will be held to inform stakeholders of the latest news regarding the construction project, including distribution of a mitigation plan to help prepare for any possible disruptions.


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