Operation: Destination Cambridge Seeks to Guide Future of Sailwi - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Operation: Destination Cambridge Seeks to Guide Future of Sailwinds Park

 CAMBRIDGE, Md.-  Operation: Destination Cambridge is underway.  The group of over 220 members is trying to make the voice of Cambridge's citizens known when it comes to the development of Sailwinds. 

One hundred people participated in a survey posted in the group, which reports that, for example, 74 percent of respondents wanted to see the existing Governor's Hall event facility rehabbed or rebuilt.

On the flip side, it shows almost 70 percent oppose further construction of condos.  Several comments on the survey, seen here, propose ideas for what to do with the park. The results of the survey were sent to mayor Victoria Jackson-Stanley by the group's organizer, Lynda Brooks.  She started the group within the past two weeks, and has seen the number of requests to join the group explode.

Ricky Travers says condos would be a waste of that property's potential.

"We need to be unique.  We have a piece of property that nobody else has, so what we do with it has to be exceptional," said Travers.

He says unsold condos down the creek show that no further condo development is needed, despite the city's insistence that it is needed to make the project viable.

"Don't put residential up just to pay the bills.  We've got plenty of residential, and I think we need to be thinking out of the box and being very creative to put something else up that nobody has."

Some have a more moderate viewpoint.

"Condos, if they are on a second floor or if it's more set up like Baltimore and the condos can be higher and behind whatever the venue is in front," said Carol Levy-Ruark, owner of downtown business A Few Of My Favorite Things.

She says the goal should not be to rush things.

"It's okay to have condos because we want to grow the downtown area.  I'd love to see more people and more beautiful homes, but it's just a question of timing.  Not building just to build because there's opportunity to build.  We need people to buy before we build."

Commissioner Gage Thomas says the vision at this time does include some condos, along with a boutique hotel.

But the real plan is to use the property to help make Cambridge a destination, and Sailwinds a way to welcome people downtown.

"Hopefully they will maybe go to Sailwinds first, and then go downtown to the established business district," said Thomas.

Thomas says developers have told the city residential will need to be an element of the project, simply to make it affordable.  He says he appreciates the survey and the intent of the group to improve Cambridge, and says that the plan is not finalized yet.

The vision for Sailwinds is still a work in progress, and the project itself will most likely be completed in phases.  Thomas says there will be opportunities for citizens to approve the final plan before any ground is broken.

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