Choptank waterfront group planning development
CAMBRIDGE — Members of the Dorchester County Council heard an update from Jeff Powell of Cambridge Waterfront Development, Inc. (CWD) on May 7. The group is working to formulate plans for purchasing and developing the site now occupied by the University of Maryland Shore Medical Center at Dorchester, the former Dorchester General Hospital.
“It is a joint effort of the city, the county and the state,” Mr. Powell said, adding that he is the county’s appointee on the board, while Frank Narr is the city’s appointee. Richard Ziedman is president and Daryl Butcher is vice president.
Mr. Powell said his main reason for speaking to the council that evening was simply to express his gratitude for their support, and to tell them, “It’s working.”
The cooperative effort was launched in June of last year. At the time, the Cambridge city government released a statement saying, “The City of Cambridge and Dorchester County have entered into an agreement to form a not-for-profit development corporation – Cambridge Waterfront Development, Inc. – to oversee development of Cambridge’s Sailwinds port property and likely University of Maryland Shore Regional Health’s Dorchester Hospital property (“waterfront”). This development – planned for several years – was made possible by the State of Maryland’s transfer of 12 acres of port property to the City for economic development purposes. The City is engaged with University of Maryland Shore Regional Health for the acquisition of adjacent property which combined with City property will provide approximately 25 acres of waterfront property with a deepwater port for a mixed-use development. The State of Maryland has been a supportive partner in many stages of this process.”
On May 7, Mr. Powell urged patience, and said, “Economic development and redevelopment in a county like Dorchester is not simple. There is no magic wand.”
With a new medical facility being built along U.S. 50, the University of Maryland plans to leave its current site. “They tell us they’ll probably be out of the facility in the summer of 2022,” Mr. Powell said.
In the meantime, the waterfront group is looking for the best way to use the property along the Choptank River.
“We’re not going to do a deal, just to do a deal,” Mr. Powell said. “I want it to survive, I want it to benefit the people of the county and the city.”
“This could be the biggest deal in the county,” Mr. Powell said. “It could bypass the Hyatt in economic and quality-of-life issues.”
Dave Ryan is editor of the Dorchester Banner. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.