A long list of accomplishments for Mayor Brian Grim and City Council

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Cumberland Times-News, January 17, 2012

Kristin Harty Barkley

 

CUMBERLAND — Under “accomplishments” for 2011, Mayor Brian Grim had prepared quite a list.

City street workers used 297 tons of blacktop to fill potholes last year, for example, Grim said Tuesday night during a 10-minute “state of the city” address.

Public safety workers responded to 4,649 emergency medical calls, and city staff planted 94 trees.

A $33 million facility to improve the city’s wastewater treatment plant was completed, and the city, plagued by financial troubles, restructured its debt.

“2011 was a busy year,” Grim said Tuesday. “I’m proud to say that many, many goals set by the council have been fulfilled, and we’re now ready to begin visioning for 2012.”

Council members — none of whom are running for re-election this fall — took turns summarizing their committee work for the year during Tuesday night’s council meeting. Most of the reports were positive:

• The city’s economic development commission revised its strategic plan, developing five top goals, including turning Cumberland into a hub for post-secondary educational opportunities, Councilman David Kauffman said.

• The city received more than 50 applications for the economic development director position vacated by Brenda Smith and are in the interviewing process, Kauffman said.

• The city built a handicap-accessible dock at Lake Koon, Councilman Butch Hendershot said.

• The planning commission completed the Neighborhood Element portion of the city’s 2013 Comprehensive Plan, holding 10 meetings in 10 neighborhoods and helping to establish neighborhood groups, said council member Mary Beth Pirolozzi.

“I’m proud to tell you we have active groups in almost every community of our town,”?she said, adding that groups meet monthly. “Our south side group has caved a little bit, so we’re looking for some new folks to develop that area.”

• The Historic Preservation Commission has facilitated several “massive renovation projects” in the city, including work on the B’er Chayim Temple, said Councilman Nick Scarpelli, who also serves on the Canal Place Preservation & Development Authority.

The CPPDA report wasn’t as glowing as the rest.

“Everybody in this area knows the difficulty with Canal Place at this point,” Scarpelli said. “CPPDA has not been moving forward, and it is our hope that we can start moving some of the projects we have been planning forward so that we can turn Canal Place into a tourist destination.”

In other business Tuesday, Council:

• Voted 5-0 to put up for sale a house at 519 Memorial Ave., near the former Memorial Hospital campus, that was thought to belong to the Western Maryland Health System. The one-and-a-half-story structure was used by visiting doctors and other guests and was assessed at $97,000, city administrator Jeff Rhodes said.

“We have no business being in the landlord business,” Pirolozzi said before agreeing to put the property for sale.

Council’s Jan. 31 meeting has been canceled. The next meeting is scheduled for 6:15 p.m. Feb. 14.

Contact Kristin Harty Barkley at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .