Cambridge Looks To Fill Vacant Street Corner Buildings - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Cambridge Looks To Fill Vacant Street Corner Buildings

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CAMBRIDGE, Md.-  Some stores, like what used to be Leaky Petes, have only been vacant for a month.  The old antique store next to it, two years.  The old four corners building, empty since the 80s.

An empty storefront does not do much for the image of a town, especially in such a prominent place.  But Cambridge is trying to change that.

Jack Helgeson, owner of Choptank Charlie's, says if those corner stores can fill in, the entire town would benefit.

"You can't kick a field goal without goal posts, and that's what we're trying to do on Poplar street is having a field goal.  We're filling up and the anchors are supports," said Helgeson.

One goal post is already there, Bliss Accessories at the intersection of Poplar and Gay streets.  Owner April Goodman says those corner stores help drive business across the block.

"For every middle of the street you have to have two corners, so there's that traffic flow from one corner store to the other.  So we're all going to prosper."

To help fill in those corner stores, and other vacant storefronts, the city offers several fee abatements, tax credits, and even money back to property owners for investments into their facades.  Economic development director Natalie Chabot says the key is to be business friendly.

"It's working.  We've got some new businesses that are slated for opening this year, and that's a very exciting thing, because small communities are still slow on the uptake when it comes to recovering from the recession, so it's encouraging."

And some of those businesses just so happen to be on some of those corners.

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