City moving forward with plans to raze old hospital

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Demolition expected to cost about $3.5 million

CUMBERLAND — A funding package to secure at least $5 million to finance the demolition of the old Memorial Hospital structure is moving forward as indicated in the Cumberland City Council meeting held Tuesday evening.

The city estimates that demolition of the old hospital would cost $3.5 million.

“We asked for $5 million in case of any overages,” said City Administrator Jeff Rhodes following the meeting.

“If we have anything left over it could be used for other needs like our utilities or (street) paving programs,” said Rhodes.

Memorial Hospital sits on an eight-acre tract. The four acres that make up the southern portion hold the hospital and parking garage.

The northern four acres hold the medical offices.

“The demolition is for the southern tract that holds the hospital and parking garage only,” said Rhodes.

The northern tract will remain as is, according to council plans.

The city initially hoped that the state of Maryland, which offers better rate deals, could be the lender, but they ran into trouble.

“We found that we were ineligible to borrow from the state,” said Rhodes. “They will not cover a demolition.”

The city is looking to borrow the funds through other sources such as the Community Development Administation or private sale.

The issuance and sale of bonds, typically handled by large banking institutions, is also a possible source.

“We want to use a local bank if needed,” said Rhodes.

When asked about looking at multiple sources for the funding Rhodes said, “This method allows us to mix and match to get the best deal.”

Rhodes indicated that no firm offers have come through for the tracts but they have received several inquiries.