Cumberland, Md. divided as residents battle big business bulldozing homes

Thanks to WJLA Channel 7 News & Jay Korff for coming out & Spotlighting us in Western Md. To watch the video for this please go HERE as I cant get it to share at the moment.

 

From afar, Cumberland looks like a thriving, picturesque city nestled in the mountains of Western Maryland. But this former industrial center is among thepoorest towns in America in terms of per capita income.

“We’ve faced a downward trajectory for many decades,” says Shawn Hershberger, Executive Director of the Cumberland Economic Development Corporation.

Since the 1950’s, Cumberland’s population has been cut in half in the wake of plant closings. It’s down to about 20,000 residents.

Cumberland is also sliced in two by Interstate 68. But there’s something else deeply dividing this town.

“I think it’s the most absurd idea I’ve ever heard in my entire life,” says homeowner Susan Bolyard.

A dozen homeowners are locked in a bitter battle with city leaders over the very future of their neighborhood.

Homeowner Woody Gordon says, “A bomb fell out of the sky and managed to land here on our neighborhood.” Woody Gordon is talking about Rolling Mill: a cluster of 67 properties just south of I-68.

More than a year ago the city identified this area as ideal for commercial development, claiming this blighted, high crime community could be transformed into a hub of business activity.

Hershberger says, “It could be any mix of lodging, dining and retail.”

Shawn Hershberger runs the Cumberland Economic Development Corporation: the group heading up the Maryland Avenue Revitalization Project. He believes this undertaking will create jobs, increase the tax base and spur economic growth.

“This administration has decided that we want to try to make a difference,” says Hershberger.

So his group, with more than $2 million in city funds, is buying and bulldozing homes to make way for new businesses. A developer plans to purchase the land from the city and place a variety of businesses on the 6.4 acre tract. But there’s a catch.

People like 82-year-old Walter Moore still live here. “Well I ain’t got any place else to go. I don’t want to go to an old folk’s home,” says Moore.

He and his wife of 62 years have no intention of leaving. And he resents those who think business interests should trump his quality of life.

Moore says, “They have no heart. People like us, they treat us like garbage. Get out. You’re in our road. We don’t want your damn house we want the land.”

Hershberger says in his experience the purchasing of properties has been fair and equitable. But a dozen homeowners, part of a coalition called Save Our Homes Alliance, are holding out.

Susan Bolyard, who says her house was built in 1897 as a wedding present for her great, great aunt, is not budging.

“It’s my home and I’m not selling,” says Bolyard.

Larry and Debbie Darby say they aren’t going anywhere either.

“I guess we’re kind of troublemakers in a sense,” says Debbie Darby.

The Darby’s have made their position quite clear by hanging a huge banner on their home for all interstate travelers to see that says “HANDS OFF OUR HOMES”.

Darby says, “I don’t think the city likes our sign too much.”

Redevelopment supporters argue this neighborhood has been an eyesore for years.

“And that’s one of the reasons why we are doing this project because there are dozens of homes down there that have been in really horrible shape,” says Hershberger.

If you walk around Rolling Mill you’ll see an odd assortment of litter like a row of discarded television sets on a front porch and a couple decaying arm chairs resting in alley ways. It’s hard to know how long those items have been there.

Bolyard says, “This neighborhood was not an eyesore last year. Yes, there were some run down houses. It’s an eyesore now. Because they have bought so many properties and just let them sit and if you look at the house next to me it looks like a jungle.”

Look around and you’ll see clear code violations like yards covered in tall weeds. A city official admitted most of the purchased properties have code violations. But he added the city doesn’t have the time, money or interest to clean up properties that will soon be demolished.

Hershberger says, “If we have a yard that we need to maintain that we need to get somebody down there to mow we will do so. We just got dropped off a bill for yard maintenance today. We’ve tried to keep in front of that.”

Redevelopment supporters also argue crime has plagued Rolling Mill for years so a new start makes sense.

“That neighborhood had the highest concentration of criminal activity in Allegany County. We had people that we purchased homes from that were happy to get out of that neighborhood,” says Hershberger.

According to federal crime statistics from 2014, the latest available, Rolling Mill had a higher crime rate than most Cumberland neighborhoods but not the highest. The city’s police chief tells ABC7 News that back in 2014 Rolling Mill did not have the highest call volume and was not the neighborhood he worried about the most.

If there’s one person who thinks the city’s logic for leveling Rolling Mill is flawed it‘s Woody Gordon. “Well I’m a grown man. It’s painful but I’m totally prepared to fight it,” says Gordon.

He refuses to even negotiate.

Gordon says, “You got the wrong guy. I’m not the guy to pick out to say you need to get out, make us happy, we’ll make you whole. It doesn’t work that way. If you want to make me whole leave me alone.”

This 64-year-old retired railroader outlived the three most important people in his life: his father, mother and brother. To him, their memories are inextricably linked to his home. To him giving in would be selling out.

Gordon says, “And they would flip over in their graves if they thought I was dealing the house away.”

There’s another reason Gordon can’t bear to relocate again. In the late 1960s, as a teenager, his family had to move when I-68 cut through town.

“This is my second time. So that really pisses me off,” says Gordon.

In that case eminent domain applied because there was a public good associated with building an interstate. This coalition of homeowners is worried that eminent domain will be used again. But so far it hasn’t.

Hershberger says, “I can tell you right now we have never threatened it, never brought it up, we have never taken any actions towards the use of eminent domain.”

We’re told what’s more likely for Rolling Mill is what some call a build around. That’s where new businesses and old homes co-exist, side by side, as neighbors.

“It looks like people being built around and that’s not a situation that we want to see not just for the people there and the city as a whole,” says Hershberger.

For some, the home is more than brick and mortar. It’s a place where shared memories create the lasting and unbreakable bonds of family.

For others, all of Cumberland is the home and this land represents a chance to improve a struggling city’s economic trajectory.

Hershberger, who grew up in Cumberland and at one time lived in the Rolling Mill neighborhood says, “What we’re trying to do is not about me, it’s not about this administration, it’s not even about the people down there. This is about the future of this community.”

All Shawn Hershberger wants to do is sit down with disgruntled homeowners and talk.

All Walter Moore wants to do is sit down and enjoy from his porch an ever-changing view he never plans on giving up.

“My life depends on this house,” says Moore.

So far, five properties have been cleared or bulldozed. Within two months, the Cumberland Economic Development Corporation hopes to have at least a couple dozen additional homes bulldozed.

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98 Degrees My2K Tour Sands Casino

For the first time in over 3 years I finally got to see my boys back on stage together. This time headlining for the first time in over 16 years. The My2KTour was a Amazing trip back in time. And I’m so Happy I got to be a part of this adventure. If you watch the Q&A below the reference about the Steelers is towards me. LoL.. Its a Pennsylvania Pounder!. Drew & Nick have this little rivalry with me going on since their Bengals Fans!! Always a friendly little competition!

The concert didn’t disappoint!! I had front row but we were so far over to the side that it was hard to see the entire show. They had a big screen where fans sent in photos to be displayed in the background.  I was in Florida at the time. I’m not really sure who sent in a picture that the guys could use for me. But I am forever grateful. Because even if I wasn’t at every show, I got to tour with them all summer on that big screen. I wasn’t aware Nick told me I had a photo op and had no idea what that meant. I didn;t even see it till I got to the next show lol..

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I had ONE to many Una Noche’s lol…. But It was ana amazing night!

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The Rise and Fall of 211 Emily Street – Rolling Mill

 

Within the last few months my once nice neighborhood is now turning into a Dangerous Environment. All thanks to the city of Cumberland, buying up what random houses they could get their hands on. So this leads me to believe that we will soon either be facing Eminent Domain or Condemnation due to a blightened  environment that the city has caused. Where this is leading only the CEDC knows and their is no transparency into this project for us to tell at this point.

Below I want to show you the rise & fall of 211 Emily Street, Which is the house right beside me. Last summer the owner was remodeling the inside and now it looks as if a tornado hit the outside. He was told he could take whatever he wanted from this property since they would be bulldozing anyway. And thats exactly what he did. Stripped the house of all it’s doors and woodwork, cabinets, pipes you name it he took it to resell so he could get more profit out of this lowball sale.

There once was a garage in the backyard. Just a few months back I was calling the cops on a nightly basis. Because of a freeloader buying drugs and my yard sounding like a late night porn. I hate to even admit this but I think it’s something that must be known. Two weeks with me calling the Police they show up one night and the lady that had been living in the shed tells them she has had permission to be there. As it turns out not only was she in this shed but there was a runaway teen from Pennsylvania and her Boyfriend hiding inside the house as well. The owner before selling tore down this shed and left it laying in the yard all over the place. How many other houses in this area are now hosting vagrants that we do not know about.

However he also left the city a Total eyesore on purpose. Took half the siding and left the rest just hanging so you can see wood and insulation as well. It wasn’t the best looking property last fall but now? Now its one of the most blightened home’s in our area.  I know their are code violations because if you have read my last blog you will know that I have been threatened nearly $400.00 fines a day for the Insulbrick on my home due to fire code violations. There were times as well that I would also get letters in the mail threatening code violations because my hedges were just to high. But yet here’s this house beside me that belongs to the CEDC falling down and putting my home, my car and any citzen in danger that walks past this house.

Fall 2015

Rolling Mill Houses Video

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SPRING 2016

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https://youtu.be/Rza16PQvjaw

 

Preservation Maryland Weighs in on Rolling Mill/Maryland Ave Redevelopment Project

SOURCE

Written by Preservation Maryland — January 26, 2016

A few insights before I repost this article from Preservation MD. We are not being terrorized by this organization we actually sought out their help & brought them to the city ourselves to try and help out the situation that we are in an not the other was around as I am hearing.. Feel free to weigh in on my comment section. I welcome other insights into this situation..

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ALTERNATIVES TO EMINENT DOMAIN AND COSTLY DEMOLITION PROJECT EXIST

Preservation Maryland, the state’s oldest and largest historic preservation advocacy organization, joined a growing chorus of concerned local citizens in announcing their serious concern today over a proposed project in Cumberland, Maryland that would demolish a historic neighborhood to make way for incompatible and economically unsustainable low-density commercial sprawl.

The proposed project takes a page from the disastrous ‘urban renewal’ projects of the 1960s and focuses its efforts on the Rolling Mill neighborhood on Cumberland’s historic eastern edge. Portions of the neighborhood have already been listed as a National Historic District by the Maryland Historical Trust while many of the adjoining properties not yet included in the formal District are also considered to be eligible for inclusion in the District by architectural historians. In addition, unlike many historic structure demolition efforts elsewhere, the majority of the homes in the path of this project are still owner occupied. Neither the City of Cumberland, nor the Cumberland Economic Development Corporation (an instrumentality of city government), has yet ruled out utilizing the power of eminent domain to seize homes for this questionable economic development scheme.

Regrettably, the exact details of the plan remain unclear, despite attempts by Preservation Maryland and local citizens to ascertain information via the state’s Public Information and Open Meetings Act. These details are critical to understanding the full scope of the project – and to what extent the city has complied with applicable preservation (and other) law, including Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act and §5A–325 and §5A–326 of the State Finance and Procurement Act. Preservation Maryland has made yet another request and is reviewing all options should the Cumberland Economic Development Corporation refuse to comply with established law.

Fortunately, many prudent and feasible alternatives exist and Preservation Maryland stands prepared to assist the city and residents alike in adopting a new strategy that engages the community and addresses reinvestment and economic development in a manner respectful of Cumberland’s past and future. Preservation Maryland is prepared to assist in drafting that plan the moment the City of Cumberland tables this costly, damaging and unsustainable proposal.

 

Preservation Maryland’s Executive Director, Nicholas Redding, noted, “Economic development and well-preserved communities can and do coexist together. We’re optimistic the attention our opposition will bring will make the city reconsider their proposal and take us up on our legitimate offer to work towards a much more vibrant and prosperous future for this community.”

Diving into the world of Younique

My Younique Page

Makeup it’s a passion. I don’t pretend to act like I’m an expert on it. Actually I’m far from it, but i love experimenting with new products and new companies. Get me in Ulta & Sephora and I’m like a little kid in a candy store. But if your anything like me? I get overwhelmed super fast. Sooooooo many products. So many ways to use them & some? Well some I’m clueless about how to use as well.

So the opportunity came up to sell Younique. I thought why not? The kit was a one time fee of $99.00 so I figured well what do I have to lose? I tried selling ItWorks a few years back & I crashed an burned so hard. I actually ended up paying them. So after that I was Leary of working for myself with any other company. But with Younique you sign up and thats it. You get your own website, no autoships, no monthly fees and a entire case full of makeup and if you don’t end up selling? the makeup is yours to use. OH an the BONUS?? Right now if you sign up you get 2 3D mascaras with your kit. The brand new one launching on July 15th and the original one as well. im actually kind of jealous about that!

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I’m a work in progress1 =) But with Younique I’m learning and helping out others who want to look cute to!! Checkout my webpage and maybe you would like to become a presenter too!

My Younique Page

22 yrs Later My 1st Facetime w/ Donnie Wahlberg

WoW I just found an old Blog that I had written way back on November 12, 2009. I don’t want to lose it again since I had forgotten all about this to begin with. So I’m reposting here. Lets take a trip back down Memory Lane.

WoW..last night was a complete whirlwind…Im still I think flying on a Ddub High. 22 yrs ago I was 17 (I feel SO old now) getting ready to graduate from High School. And starting to fall in love with a little unknown Boy Band called *New Kids on the Block* or more or less Donnie Wahlberg.

Slowly the old Menudo posters were coming down off the walls & being replaced with the Nk’s. The 5 Bad Brothers from Da Beantownland. I graduated & started my Freshman year in college..Still living at home & my Dad was happy as hell that finally I stopped listening to the spanish music (because basically I didn’t understand a word of it) and driving him crazy to send me to Puerto Rico to meet Menudo! LoL..Replacing it with trying to go to Boston in my Mom’s Horizon w/ only a lerners permit to find the New kids. I laugh at myself just reading this.

The Spring of 1988 my first wish came true. New Kids opened up for Tiffany. Thats right the OPENING act for Tiffany. At a tiny racetrack in Hagerstown, MD. I remember standing outside the gates w/ my childhood best friend & my Mom (who loved them as much as I did) with literally 100’s of other girls screaming at the top of our lungs for those Gorgeous Guys we were all falling so hard in love with!! They were the opening act but we were all there to see them. My pictures I was SO proud of, back then?? lol..they looked like ants..the only thing I can make out in the photo is the guy in the striped Blue & White shirt…Which I remember as being JON…

That same summer they started showing up on Dance Party USA…I begged, I pleaded & cried to go to Philadelphia to get on my fave dance show & see them at the same time. but still I had no car & there was no way that my Dad was going to let me & my Mom venture into Philly by ourselves..My Mom tried. Her fave show growing up was American Bandstand, so she knew right where I was coming from. So we settled for watching them on the TV..I remember the interview (cause i still have it on video) of Donnie promoting his *North Side Boys* And of course Jimmy Marsh was part of that Duo.

Then the big tours started. Once they really blew up on the scene. They landed at the Star Lake Amphitheater in Pittsburgh. I had that Concert add cut out & hanging on my fridge. The place where all the Hints of a present i really wanted was for my Daddy. 🙂 Something happened. I think it may have been that the concert sold out or the car broke down? But I never got to go & all I did was cry…I was devastated..1988 ended up being the only concert I got to see with them all together.

A few years later we all (the nk’s & I) started growing up & going our seperate ways…My posters started coming down. Although Face the Music was my very First CD (how funny is that?) Inside? Yeah I was still secretly loving them, but no one really needed to know that!! 🙂 The Fan Club stuff, The letter I got from Alma about Donnie, the posters the pins all got packed away in my memory chest..I wasn’t going to part with any of it..And life moved on…

Then my Father was diagnosed with Cancer. He was in the Vets Hospital in DC for over 6mths. My Mom & I spent at least 3 days a week driving back-n-forth to that hospital, which was a 2hr drive. Life was hard but we managed to get thru. My Daddy came home, weak but getting stronger everyday. That is until my Mother was diagnosed with cancer a year after that…It wasn’t long before she was gone. It was a Cancer that came on fast & took her before we knew it…

I started escaping into the world of 98 Degrees. My mom did manage to see their cassette cover (haha) right before she passed & honestly somehow they helped me get thru that horrible summer of losing her & having a Daddy that was fading fast as well. I lost him 6mths later that same year… Please do not pitty me. Just cherish the ones that you love closely. And give all the love you have to them while there here…

Why do I bring up 98 Degrees?? Because sometime after they went there sepearte ways…Jordan hooked up with my Fave guy Jeff Timmons. They made a song *Where is your Heart tonight* & started touring. I had plans to go see them. But for some reason ticket sales were low. And the concert I was supossed to see? You guessed it…was cancelled due to lack of sales….

So last year I hear the New Kids are coming back. There website started showing signs of life & some of my longtime NK friends that I met on a Yahoo Board. Rodelyn & Jen were SO super excited. Inside i secretly was as well…But I was layin low. Trying to stay in denial where i thought i was happy. (go ahead & laugh if you really know me). Concerts in 2008 came & went…None of my real friends were much into NK so it was very easy to stay there…in denial.

I started meeting some Nick Lachey friends (once again 98 pops back in the picture) @InSearchofNKOTB girls…just so happened to know someone that had 2 free tickets to the Baltimore Show & wanted to know if I wanted them…I fought with it inside & finally I thought what the hell do I have to lose there free right? I grabbed a friend that was remotely interested & went…

WELL….

Were all the way up in the balcony on the side seats, where they were not the greatest but they were free. Were looking around at all of these girls in there old New Kid Garb…Neon clothes..shirts that said I Heart NKOTB etc…and thought seriously?? Do not judge me here I was Still in Denial remember that…

THEN they came out on stage…Tears welled up in my eyes like they are now & I had the best night ever…I was on the phone calling my old bestie from college wanting to see if she wanted to go to the Penn State show with me that following week. All it took was a simple glance at the 5 bad Brothers from Da Beantownland once again & that denial Bubble that I had myself in was gone in a poof of an eye!! The concert ended it was frezzing in downtown Baltimore but i braved it to go bus stalk to see if I could find DDUB 22 yrs later…We waited & waited. I was froze had a 2hr drive home so we left. As i was entering the parking garage i hear screaming coming from the buses & find out the very next morning that Donnie walked out 5 minutes after i left…I was ready to cry my eyes out that next morning…

Penn State came around…Met more kool Friends @dori23 @inserachofnkotb @nkangel74 and froze outside in 4o degrees weather w/ a crazy old grandpa chasin us away from the fence. We were doing pose-offs to keep warm. Yes I said Pose-offs…No Donnie. No NKOTB just 6 frozen sad girls & NO Facetime! lmao…

3 concerts later & no 5* cause i really could not afford it at the time. I was still a facetime virgin with all 5 guys…I really only wanted to meet Donnie. Gotta stay true to myself & my teenage years. But each one had grown into 5 beautiful men in there own ways…my last show was Pittsburgh. Well everyone knows how much he loves that Damn waffle House. There was one in Washington, PA. But it was 20 minutes away. Would he really go that far for Waffles? Twitter was growing by this point..I was meeting some new wonderful friends that ACTUALLY get me & know where I am coming from. Meaning why we get emotional or super excited when you meet one of the guys or get that FOLLOW that everyone wants to see so badly. Some going to crazy extremes at times. It means that the ones you were sending fan letters to all of those years ago, FINALLY noticed that you were alive! lol… Or why there are tears in your eyes at a concert etc… I would sit back & read about this person or that getting there facetime for the first time or fourth time. Going to shows & parties. Being sooo insanely jealous & Sooo damn happy for them at the same time. And everyone saying don’t worry your chance is coming..And thinking its NEVER gonna happen. Back to the Waffle House in PA. As it turns out I went to that concert that night in PGH. Didn’t have a ticket * got 11th row center when the gates opened & met @covergirl_76 whom i only met thru twitter & started a friendship I am pretty sure will last for a lifetime. Would you believe that this same concert was home of the old Star Lake the place where I missed that other NKOTB concert all of those years ago?? Amanda had to go home to OH-IO & I had to go home to MD. But we both had to pass that Waffle House. Should we go?? We chose no, because no one out there told us that yes Donnie & his posse was going to be there. Found out the next morning at work & once again those tears came..

What made it better?? Was the fact that about a month later I became Donnies 75th follow. All it took was just a little something that caught his eye. 1 simple little tweet..That meant something to me & it worked. #ThankyouDonnie (something that trended today) for that. It made me happy. Y? because of course I was finally seen 22 yrs after I first fell in love with him. (lol) Still it wasn’t Facetime that I wanted so badly… Donnie announced numerous parties, after the concerts ended but i was working hard & had no time to take off. Then the Rise & Grind Parties were announced. And lo & behold my Winter layoff at work was hitting at the same time. He says hes going back to the Sugar Bar in OH-IO and I couldn’t believe my luck. Would it really all fall into place this time that I could actually have the chance to meet him? Plans were made..4 friends from twitter meeting in OH-IO to go to a party together..We all kinda sorta knew each other some in person some not. But we have that BH Bond (sisterhood) & somehow it makes it ok.. We got tickets, then scored the Golden Ticket as like to call it. FACETIME…

4 hrs & no food trip to OH-IO and were waiting in line to see Donnie. It all seemed so surreal. We were let into the club. And we were the first 4 girls let in to see Donnie. ME? Number 2. I looked at him & was like holy shit! (lol) is that actually him?? Sunglasses & NO hat…I LOVE that look…I didn’t even have time to think it all happened so fast. I walked up to him & hes standing there with arms wide open. What the hell do I do? LOL So i hugged him back. And he looks at me & says *Whats Wrong* (im such a goof) all I could utter out was the fact that I had never done that before!! He hugged me again, kissed me on the forehead & said *Well you are a Facetime Virgin No More* so softly that I think i am lucky I didn’t passout right there.. I’m so serious. 22yrs of waiting to hear those words.

Then I regained my composure & managed to blurt out who I was on Twitter, and thats when if you watch the video we hug again when he realized who i was… *Now I know who you are when Im tweeting you* He high fived me and I was back out with my friends… So fast & so much I would have NEVER remembered had it not all been caught on Video Thank god!! (sorry Johnny!!)

On to his party. I had the MOST amazing night with new friends. @covergirl_76 @lioneris @stephspenser @ddubscookie @ddubslady77 Dancin, singing to Donnies new songs…Having a few drinks & just letting go for the evening. Maybe one of the VERY Best nights I have had in a very long time. And who Comes out first but Jimmy Marsh that goes WAY back to the North Side Boys & Dance Party USA over 20 yrs ago. How crazy is that.

Donnie puts on one helluva show. The Back Rub if you cant see it in person, Just prepare yourself. You think the podcast is Hawt?? Your in for quite a treat!! We got the the waffle house late & we missed the chant…But I still got a little bit of the waffle House experience as well. In fact. The first Waffle House we went to the lady asked us if we were looking for that Backstreet Boy Donnie Wahlberg. We had to laugh the poor thing was clueless!! BUT she did know which one he was at, So thank you waffle lady!! After Donnie left they were offering everyone that walked thru the door the Donnie Wahlberg Special. LoL Im still laughing… SO DONNIE if you read this.. You made my whole night, Your so Down to earth & made me feel so comfortable around you, that I could just be me. Thank you for being real & not tarnishing the Image I have had of you for so many years, like some stars do.

Hopefully we will meet again because I still have a harley Poster I need you to sign!!!!

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