Maryland 3.0: The Long View from Main Street Cambridge

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From a variety of perspectives, the growing awareness on the Mid-Shore that Cambridge has become a hot foodie destination should make anyone involved in improving town’s economic development pretty happy.

From the urban sophistication of Poplar Bistro to chef Patrick Fleming’s growing collection of eateries, Cambridge’s downtown is slowly but surely working its way out of the dark days of economic recession.

That change of events has undoubtedly made many in that town feel a sense of optimism that a robust and thriving downtown is just around the corner for a community that has taken some pretty hard knocks for many years.

But as Katie Clendaniel, director of Downtown Cambridge noted in her interview with the Spy at Bullitt House a few weeks ago, the road back to full recovery is a long and complex one.

While the hospitality sector is a critical factor in making that happen, the less noticeable work of improving walkability, adding traffic calming infrastructure and the expansion of high-quality residential housing all are part of a much larger plan that may take many more years to achieve the maximum impact of the economic life of downtown Cambridge.

For Clendaniel, who was part of the original team of Easton’s successful Main Street program several years ago, this kind of incremental change is the reality of almost any serious revitalization program. While frustrating for those seeking easy and quick answers, this slow process requires equal amounts of long-range strategic planning and the collective patience of the community.

This video is approximately seven minutes in length. For more information about Downtown Cambridge please go here

 

About Dave Wheelan

Letters to Editor

  1. Larry Myers says:

    Katie Clendaniel is right: the road to balanced development is complex and not instantaneous. Nor is it painless. Cambridge is rich in talent and public-spiritness, people like Bart Spicer who in the 60’s and 70’s tried to heal some bitter wounds and major economic losses. Geography tells one story: the large area of apparently underused commercial land in the center of the part of Cambridge people see as they traverse Rout 50. The census tells another story: Cambridge has lost the edge and the population to Easton, which has done a better job of marketing itself to a younger, more affluent population. Sadly, another story is the education gap. Whether true or not, when it comes to attracting new businesses and an educated workforce, Easton appears to offer a wider range of educational opportunities to new arrivals. Just look at web sites: Easton is preferred over Cambridge for new business locations. I have many friends in Cambridge, and know how hard they have worked – and at what economic risk – to develop centers for small businesses and the arts. But if Cambridge is to attract and retain the tech and other post-industrial business of the future to sustain a large population, it needs to focus more on the totality of quality of life issues their employees will seek. That includes education infrastructure.

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