Groundbreaking for mall renovation set for March 17 | News

CUMBERLAND — A groundbreaking ceremony for the upcoming $15 million downtown mall renovation project has been scheduled for March 17.

The public is invited to the event, which will take place at the McCoury Stage on the corner of Baltimore and Liberty streets at 12:30 pm

Actual construction is scheduled to begin April 3 with Triton Construction Inc. of St. Albans, West Virginia, doing the work.

The project will include replacing underground utility lines and adding high-capacity fiber optics, reinstalling Baltimore Street through the mall, reconstructing the parklets and adding new trees, shrubs and flowers.

The project is expected to take 12 to 18 months to complete.

“It has been a long time coming and we are incredibly excited to get the construction started,” said Melinda Kellerher, executive director of the Downtown Development Commission. “It’s going to be an incredible boon to the downtown area and for all of our businesses. Even though it will be somewhat disruptive, during construction we will do everything possible to make it as painless as possible.”

Kelleher said Major Ray Morriss and the City Council would be present for the event. Morriss and Matt Miller, executive director of the Cumberland Economic Development Corp., are expected to speak. Others involved in the project may also share some remarks, Kelleher said.

City officials held a town hall meeting on Feb. 23 at Allegany High School with roughly 70 people attending.

A panel of seven city officials and construction engineers took questions, many involving concerns over access to businesses, potential closures of streets, grants in case of losses and parking. Officials assured those in attendance that communication will be ongoing and any disruptions should be short in duration.

“It’s a tremendous investment for the city,” said Kelleher. “Once we get to the other side in 18 months, people will understand why (it was done).”

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