Cambridge Prepares for Million Dollar Maryland Avenue Project - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Cambridge Prepares for Million Dollar Maryland Avenue Project

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 CAMBRIDGE, Md.- If there is one thing Cambridge has struggled with, it is trying to get people off Route 50 and into the downtown area. Now, some city officials say they think they have the solution, and it lies in one of the main gateways downtown.

There's a good amount of traffic on Route 50 today, but not much of that traffic is turning onto Maryland Avenue to head into downtown Cambridge.  But public works director Odie Wheeler wants to change that.

"We're looking at improving a major gateway into our town and draw tourists off of route 50 and into our town." said Wheeler.

Right now, Maryland Avenue is asphalt from curb to curb, but Cambridge plans to break ground in September on a green gateway project.  The road will be narrowed by grassy bump-outs with new trees planted.  Pavement replaced by pervious materials, keeping at least one ton of car runoff like coolant and oil from entering the river.  Antique style lampposts will be installed.  As will a bike lane, and pervious bricks for those parking along the side of the road.

"We're doing a multifaceted project.  it's not just one thing, I think it's going to be huge and the town will be very very happy with what we do." Wheeler says.

Money for the project comes in the form of grants from several different sources.  Wheeler says the biggest help for the project came from the Eastern Shore Land Conservancy, who helped secure several of the grants, as well as the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, whose $800,000 grant made the project possible.  In all, Cambridge was able to get their hands on $1.1 million for the project which will be completed in phases.  The first phase is from Dorchester Avenue to Aurora Street, and the second phase from Aurora to Hayward Street.

And someone who's already excited is one of the business owners set to benefit from this, Ashley Banks, owner of Sur Jeudi.

"Let people know that we are down here because when you come downtown there are so many nice shops and restaurants and I think that gets overlooked by Route 50," Banks said.

And she was thrilled to hear the town was going to buy the empty Burger King at the top of the street and tear it down for a park.

"Seriously?  We all talk about that, that doesn't make you want to come downtown.  It makes you think that's what lies ahead," Banks said.

While the Burger King project and Maryland Avenue are in the same general area, they are on two separate timelines.  The Maryland Avenue work is expected to be completed by the summer of 2015, while the Burger King project is on a longer timeline, taking a year or longer.




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