Phillips Packing House Named One of Six in Maryland to "Fix" - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Phillips Packing House Named One of Six in Maryland to "Fix"

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CAMBRIDGE, Md. - Conservationists call it a "threatened historic place." The Phillips Packing House in Cambridge was built in the 1920s.

At its peak, nearly 10,000 employees packed vegetables and shucked oysters inside its factory. But after closing in the 1960's, the building and its two, towering smokestacks have sat untouched. But now, a new initiative aims to restore the Phillips Packing House as soon as this year.

The non-profit organization, Preservation Maryland, is stepping in to help leading organization, the Eastern Shore Land Conservancy, secure the iconic smokestacks and building at a price of about $22 million. ESLC Vice President Katie Parks says, once done, the Packing House will become a food and farming exchange.

"There is an urgency associated with being able to move forward with the restoration," Parks said. "It could maybe have a brewery or a distillery, creative light manufacturing, eateries, any type of business that fits within the realm of agriculture and environmental technologies."

Earlier this year, tractor trailers were working to restore a nearby stream as part of a new park next to the Packing House. Dorchester County Tourism Director Amanda Fenstermaker says another $250,000 will go toward building a new Rails to Trails near the park.

"It will serve as a really nice way to bring the park and the Packing House together," Fenstermaker said. "We realize recreational assets attract visitors and keep them in the destination longer to spend more money, so I think it's just going to be a really unique thing to offer."

The Phillips Packing House is one of Preservation Maryland's "Six-to-Fix." Every year, the organization picks six historic sites across the state to help preserve and restore.

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