Melinda Kelleher - Executive Director, Downtown Development Commission
If you have visited downtown Cumberland, you have experienced the charm of Baltimore Street’s pedestrian mall with its amazing architecture, brick walkways, and lush landscaping in the many planters along the way. All of these elements that make downtown Cumberland so unique and special will all be preserved with the recently begun Baltimore Street Revitalization Project.
The project groundbreaking, held in mid-March, started an 18-month journey to replace the aging infrastructure beneath Baltimore Street, including water and sewer lines and a 5G fiber network. Project plans also include opening up the pedestrian mall to one lane of slow-moving automobile and bicycle traffic, and reconfiguring Baltimore Street into an open, safe, and multi-functional space which can be easily modified to suit the need at any given time. The finished project will capitalize on shared spaces, slow traffic and a “curb-less” design that promotes equal priority to vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians. There will be 20 parking spaces on Baltimore Street for shoppers and diners to take advantage of while enjoying the area. These spaces add to the over 1,500 public parking spaces in downtown Cumberland. A comprehensive landscaping plan will focus on large, movable planters teeming with flowers and greenery and fast-growing, high-canopy shade trees.
Baltimore Street will be transformed into Cumberland’s central gathering place - a place of pride and identity for residents and a must-see urban space for visitors. The project will result in added attractiveness and vibrancy to the downtown Historic City Center and will also serve as a catalyst for reinvestment of both businesses and upper-floor residences downtown.
Important to note is that during construction, all of the sidewalks on Baltimore Street will be open and accessible, except during very brief periods of time when sections will be receiving new bricks. All businesses remain open and accessible as well. So, despite a little bit of dust, you can still shop, dine and explore downtown. You can still look up and experience the amazing architecture the length of Baltimore Street. You can drive through downtown as all streets that cross Baltimore Street are open. No parking has been closed due to the construction and you can even get two hours of free parking in the George Street garage during the construction period.
Cumberland’s Friday After Five live music series is still taking place downtown the first Friday of each month, May – October (September is the second Friday). These events will take place on Centre Street with a variety of music, so grab your lawn chair, patronize a local restaurant for food and drinks and come on out for this fun street party to kick off your weekend. For the full schedule of artists and to learn more about the Baltimore Street Project, visit www.reimaginecumberland.com. Additional information and updates can be found on the Downtown Development Commission’s Facebook Page.