Press Releases

Commissioners voted to accept grant funding for several projects during the public business meeting held on November 18, 2022

Allegany County Commissioners voted to accept grant funding for several projects during the public business meeting held on November 18, 2022. The Public Works Department was able to secure over $7.5 million in grant funding for the Flinstone and Oldtown Wastewater Treatment plants and Borden Tunnel projects. 

The Borden Tunnel, located on the Great Allegheny Passage Rail Trail in Frostburg, Maryland, was built in 1911. The Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration has awarded Allegany County $3,623,796 from the Recreational Trails Program to complete a restoration project in an effort to preserve the tunnel, while also ensuring the safe passage of visitors, tourists, and local residents that utilize the Great Allegheny Passage.  Specifics of the project include resurfacing and repair of the exterior end walls and the interior surface of the 955 linear foot tunnel, using pneumatically applied mortar. This will also include the removal and re-installation of the lighting system equipment (i.e. lights, conduit, sensors, etc.) currently on the interior wall of the tunnel. The project is expected to get started in Spring 2023, pending permit approvals.

FlintstoneWWTP - Edited

The Flintstone Wastewater Treatment Plant was built in 1980 and has reached the end of its useful life. In order to continue to provide this necessary service to the residents of Flintstone a new treatment plant is needed and without this funding it would have been difficult to achieve. A previous grant was awarded from the Community Development Block Grant Program (Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development) in the amount of $1.6 million. Grants awarded this week were for $1.5 million from Maryland Department of the Environment Supplemental Assistance Grant, and $375,000 Maryland Department of the Environment Comprehensive Flood Management Grant. 

The project is currently in the design phase and is estimated to be complete in 2025. Though most of the project is being funded through the above mentioned grants, it is expected that a rate increase will be needed to offset low funding required to fully complete the project.

The Oldtown Wastewater Treatment Plant was also built in 1980 and mirrors the same issues presented in Flintstone. Grants received this week were for $1.5 million from Maryland Department of the Environment Supplemental Assistance Grant, and $375,000 Maryland Department of the Environment Comprehensive Flood Management Grant. Also like the Flintstone project, it is expected that a rate increase will be needed in the future to cover low funding.

The project is expected to enter the design phase soon, and will run approximately 2 years behind the Flintstone project. 

Allegany county officials meet with mdot leaders

(Cumberland, MD) November 4, 2022 – Allegany County officials met with Transportation Secretary James F. Ports, Jr. and other Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) leaders yesterday to discuss key projects and future partnerships within the county. Secretary Ports outlined the Draft FY 2023-2028 Consolidated Transportation Program (CTP) for the State of Maryland, which is nearly $2.2 billion more than the Final FY 2022-2027 CTP, and utilizes $1.3 billion in additional Federal formula funds from the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) passed by Congress last fall. 

Secretary Ports said the additional IIJA funding will aid long-term state of good repair investments and fulfill Governor Hogan's commitment to advance at least one new priority project in every county and Baltimore City. For Allegany County, the CTP includes funding toward the I-68 Cumberland Viaduct Replacement project, which will upgrade access points to and from central Cumberland by replacing the bridge over central Cumberland and Wills Creek.

Representatives for Allegany County included County Administrator Jason Bennett, Director of Public Works Adam Patterson, County Engineer Dan DeWitt, and Engineer Whitney Patterson. Also in attendance was City of Cumberland Director of Engineering & Utilities, Robert Smith.  

Whitney Patterson outlined progress made on the US 220 corridor in Bowling Green to address flooding, noting that phase one of four has wrapped up and plans are in line through phase three at this point in time. She also discussed restoration of the Borden Tunnel on the GAP trail and expressed gratitude for awarded funds that would help to resurface some deteriorating areas within the tunnel. Dan DeWitt mentioned two bridge projects north of Cumberland (Mason Road over Evitts Creek and Old Mount Pleasant Road over Evitts Creek) that the county is hopeful will receive 100% funding through IIJA. Additionally, two other bridge projects were discussed: replacement of Watercliff Street over Hill Run in Lonaconing-area and replacement of New Row Road over Dutch Hollow Run in Mount Savage. DeWitt also updated progress on a pedestrian bridge near Bel Air Elementary School, citing that they are hopeful to find an ADA-compliant solution from a 3rd party provider that meets the requirements of the MDOT State Highway Administration (SHA) Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) Safe Routes to School (SRTS) Program

City of Cumberland Engineer, Robert Smith, discussed three bridge projects within city limits. He indicated that the Fayette Street bridge, previously struck by a CSX train, was being funded at the Federal level but they would be reaching out to MDOT with the hopes of fast-tracking the project.

MDOT is also working with federal partners to outline criteria on additional funding that may be available to state and local jurisdictions through discretionary grants that are part of IIJA and other longstanding Federal grant programs. During roundtable discussion, MDOT officials commended the Allegany County Department of Public Works on fostering a good working relationship amongst the departments, and making excellent use of the resources and programs available to them.

Regarding highways, SHA Administrator Tim Smith emphasized SHA's continued collaboration and partnership with the county. He said in August, SHA completed a $14 million bridge deck replacement and rehabilitation of the MD 51 (Industrial Boulevard) bridge over MD 61 (Canal Parkway) and CSX in Cumberland. In September, SHA completed a $12 million bridge deck replacement on MD 51 (Old Town Road) bridge over C&O Canal. The bridge was built in 1932.

Looking ahead, work to replace the MD 36 (Mount Savage Road) Bridge over North Branch will begin next spring. SHA is also funding improvements to US 220, MD 53 and Warrior Drive in Cresaptown.

MTA Local Transit Support Director Travis Johnston discussed the agency's investments and priorities throughout the state, including local investment in transit in Allegany County by providing nearly $1.2 million in operating and capital grants to support local transit operations.

MVA Administrator Chrissy Nizer told officials that MVA continues to operate by appointment only at its branches, and serves more than 75% of branch customers within 15 minutes of their appointment. Administrator Nizer discussed the Hogan Administration's recent announcement of nearly $9,000 for Allegany County agencies to address highway safety. She also provided an update on MVA's work to help Marylanders meet the federal REAL ID requirement by the May 3, 2023, deadline. Currently 88% of Marylanders are REAL ID compliant. 

MAA Planning and Engineering Chief Paul Shank said the MAA is continuing to support the 35 public-use airports that serve communities across the state, and will administer $3.5 million in State grants during Fiscal Year 2023 for regional airports, including $212,000 in funding to support runway rehabilitation, terminal HVAC equipment, and roof repairs for Greater Cumberland Regional Airport.

Secretary Ports noted that Maryland's Port of Baltimore is advancing the Howard Street Tunnel expansion, a project that will grow jobs and spark growth in the logistics and supply train industry across the state – including Western Maryland. The project is a partnership between state, local and federal agencies, as well as CSX. Expansion of the tunnel in Baltimore will make it possible for double-stacked rail cars to travel from the port. When completed, it will provide double-stack capacity from Maine to Florida and allow the port to send double-stacked containers by rail into the Ohio Valley and onto Chicago. The project will increase port business by about 160,000 additional containers per year, and generate about 7,300 new jobs, including good-paying trucking, warehouse and distribution center jobs across Maryland.  

MDOT officials also sought to remind Allegany County residents of the upcoming deadline to pay any outstanding Video Toll bills from Maryland toll bridges and roads. There are 26 more days remaining in MDTA's civil penalty waiver grace period, which started in February and continues through 11:59 p.m. November 30, 2022.

Program Open Space and Local Parks and Playgrounds Infrastructure Funding for FY ‘23

Cumberland, MD - September 22, 2022 - Allegany County receives Program Open Space funds from the Maryland Department of Natural Resource on an annual basis. These funds are allocated to each County for public recreation development and acquisition, and totaled $912,017.00 for FY 2023. For the second consecutive year, Maryland DNR has also awarded Allegany County an additional $1,000,000.00 for FY 2023 through Local Parks and Playgrounds Infrastructure (LPPI) Funding.

Allegany County Director of Public Works, Adam Patterson, noted that the LPPI funds have been awarded for two years, but it’s unclear if this will be available annually from the Department of Natural Resources. The program is funded at the State level and comes from real estate transactions. 

For FY 2023, Allegany County has received 25 requests from local groups and are recommending an approval of funds for all 25 projects, with small adjustments. Those adjustments are primarily in reference to a 10% match required for all Open Space projects, and the recommendation that in order to fund all requests, that 10% match also be applied to a selection of LPPI projects, which the State does not require. Director Patterson has suggested that the 10% match be imposed on projects funded by municipalities and larger organizations and not the community improvement groups who have applied.  

Projects suggested to receive funding for FY ‘23 are:

  • ACM Community Baseball Field Enhancement (Phase 2)

  • Fairgrounds Grandstand Ramp Replacement

  • Frostburg Coal Miner Memorial Park

  • Depot Decking Replacement

  • Mt. Ridge Practice Field Drainage Improvements

  • Allegany High Athletic Field Improvements

  • Frostburg Pool Chemical Storage Building

  • Hoffman Park Field Backstop

  • Lions Concession Building Renovations

  • ACM Public Fitness Enhancement

  • Prichard Farms Community Park

  • Bel Air Community Recreation Complex ADA Restroom Project

  • Bel Air Baseball Field Upgrade Project

  • Constitution Park 5-year Improvement (Part 1)

  • Sowers Field LED Light Retrofit

  • Cresaptown Sports Complex Parking Lot Improvement Project

  • Cresaptown Sport Complex Outdoor Fitness Equipment Project

  • Brauer Baseball Field Fence Replacement 

  • Ellerslie Community Park Upgrades

  • Piney Plains Community Park Improvements & Renovation

  • Town of Barton Parks Rain Gutters & Downspouts Project (Hill St. & Takoma Dr.)

  • Lonaconing Little League Park Playground Upgrades

  • Luke Legacy Park LED Lighting and Swing Project

  • Midland Recreation Facilities Improvement Project

  • Maryland Ave Softball Field Renovations

Three Joint Communications Staff Members Recognized for Exemplary Performance

Cumberland, MD - September 12, 2022 -In October 1986, the United States Congress approved a law designating September 11 as 9-1-1 Emergency Number Day. In recognition of the emergency number system and the dispatchers dedicated to this critical public service, Allegany County observes this date to honor our Joint Communications Center staff.

911 Joint Communications Center Chief, Bryan Miller, explains that dispatchers have a crucial job. “When our joint communications team is speaking to a caller, it is very often the worst day of that other person's life. Our staff is not only required to have significant training and knowledge to provide life-saving direction, but also to be a highly skilled multi-tasker and communicator. We have some of the best here in Allegany County, and we’re happy to take some time today to honor our own.”

Awards were presented to three Joint Communications staff members in recognition of exemplary performance.

Dispatcher of the Year – Trina Flesher

Dispatcher of the Year is voted on by Department leadership and co-workers, and is a representation of achievement in a variety of traits displayed through the year. Trina will celebrate her 10 year anniversary with the department this October, and is recognized for extreme growth across the board. Chief Miller says, “When it gets tough in here, Trina jumps in with both feet. She’s not afraid to help or give direction, and never has to be asked. She has really stepped up to the challenge and proved a lot of people wrong. I’m very proud of her, and excited to see her win this award.” 

Trina Flesher says, “I really was shocked to hear I had won this award. I do not feel like I do more than anyone else here, but that’s because we have a really great team. We all put in a lot of hard work. Reflecting back to when I first started, I never would have guessed this is where I would be. It’s an honor to know my coworkers value the work I do, and receiving recognition from the state this year so that dispatchers are now officially First Responders has been a great feeling. This is a fulfilling job and a great place to work.”

Chief’s Award – Jeremy Jack

The Chiefs Award is recognition of a staff member who has stepped up to the plate and went above and beyond their duties for the good of the Department. The recipient of this award is selected by Division Chief, Bryan Miller. Jeremy Jack celebrates 25 years with Allegany County this week, and is recognized for taking on an added leadership role during the past year. Chief Miller says, “We found ourselves in a position this year where we needed to train 6 new staff members at one time. I went to Jeremy and not only asked him to be in charge of that training, but to also develop a program where this could be done again in the future. It was a large task, and he rose to the occasion. Jeremy is also a crucial part of our day to day operations, making sure that our staff members and department remain compliant and up to date with all certifications and training. He’s a huge asset to the team, and we’re thankful to have him.”

Jeremy Jack says, “Creating the Training Academy was a challenging experience, but overall very successful. It was a large team effort and I’m looking forward to continuing to improve the program a little at a time. It’s a big honor to be recognized and I’m very thankful and appreciative to Chief Miller for having confidence in me, and providing me with the leeway to develop this program. It’s moments like this that help you feel like the hardwork and dedication you give to your career have paid off.”

Bill Lamberson “Big Dog” Award- Matt Ross

This award was established on June 25, 2012 after the death of longtime dispatcher and “voice of Allegany County,” Bill Lamberson. It is awarded to a staff member who embodies Big Dog’s helpful nature, and is very well-versed in their position. Matt Ross will celebrate his 10 year anniversary with Allegany County in October, and is commended for his knowledge in many different areas. Chief Bryan Miller says, “Matt started as a police dispatcher and can now do any position here. He takes a great deal of pride in his work, and has been proactive in continuing to learn during his time here. Having someone on the team who is cross-trained like Matt is very valuable. Glad he is part of our team!”

Matt Ross says, “I’m definitely surprised and thankful for this award. I knew Big Dog well and had a great deal of respect for him. I come from the same fire department as him, and this award really means a lot. It’s an honor.” 

Allegany County Informs Citizens of Issue with 911 Calls Made From an Internet Service Provider (ISP) Phone Line

CUMBERLAND, MD - August 25, 2022 - The Allegany County Department of Emergency Services is informing citizens of a telephone technology issue that can impact 911 emergency call response times and potentially hamper the speed at which lifesaving services can be dispatched.

Over the years, many households have gotten away from traditional landline telephone service and now operate their home phones through an Internet Service Provider, such as Breezeline, Xfinity or Verizon. These types of phone systems use the internet as a means of data transmission and do not automatically display the caller's physical address when calling 911, and sometimes will not route a call to the closest 911 center. As a result, dispatchers may need to depend on the caller to relay specific location information during a call. Cell phones operate in a similar manner, but technology has evolved to allow 911 operators to locate a cell phone's location when required. This option is not available for VoIP (voice over internet protocol) calls. 

911 dispatchers in Allegany County have encountered incidents where a caller has connected with 911, then set their phone down without communicating a location to the 911 operator. It is crucial, especially in a time-sensitive situation, that residents are aware of this important step in reporting an emergency. 

Department of Emergency Services Director, James Pyles, says “When lifesaving services are required and every second counts, Allegany County wants to remind residents of the quickest and most efficient way to communicate with 911 dispatchers. In emergency settings, callers may be directly engaged in the crisis or may be third parties like a babysitter, relative, or a child in the household who is not immediately familiar with the street address of the home. Coupled with the possibility of having to transfer a call to a closer 911 center, Allegany County EMS managers have noted this can potentially delay response times.”

Director Pyles announced that a public information program is being developed to encourage county residents to have their physical addresses listed somewhere near their home phones to aid third parties or children in sharing that information with 911 call center operators. Additionally, officials are looking into what safety reminders can be developed to remind children of the importance of knowing their home street address and producing practical reminders that remind emergency callers to state their address early in a 911 call.

"Our departmental goal includes a constant review of our response systems and their outcomes. Allegany County is not alone in encountering issues with VoIP calls, but we are committed to being as proactive as we can to prevent any VoIP related delays in life saving responses until we can participate in technological fixes that reduce the problem," concluded Director Pyles.

Allegany County Government Receives $75K from Appalachian Regional Commission to Further Develop Western Maryland’s Outdoor Economy

Grant is part of a collaboration with Garrett County and the state’s Maryland Department of Commerce 

CUMBERLAND, MD - February 24, 2022 - Allegany County Government, in collaboration with Garrett County Government and the state’s Maryland Department of Commerce, was awarded $75K by the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) to support Western Maryland’s outdoor economy. The project will develop a recruitment and strategic plan to attract outdoor recreation/lifestyle manufacturing to locate, expand, and grow in Western Maryland. 

The project comes at the heels of the State of Maryland’s Maryland Outdoor Recreation Economic (MORE) Commission report, which was released in December of 2019. The Commission, which was tasked by Governor Larry Hogan to develop innovative strategies to market Maryland’s unique outdoor and heritage recreation brand as well as recommended initiatives to grow and attract new companies, put forth multiple statewide recommendations in its final report. Recommendations included the formation of the State of Maryland’s newly appointed Office of Outdoor Recreation as well as addressing the need for a recruitment plan to attract outdoor lifestyle manufacturers, such as kayak, boat, bicycle, and ATV companies, to locate and grow in Maryland.

Allegany and Garrett counties are gateway communities, home to over 148,000 acres of public land, 31% of the entire state’s owned acreage. With over 500 miles of developed trail systems, one National Park, three state forests, and 11 state parks, Western Maryland has the ability to leverage economic and community development through its growing outdoor economy and access to natural resources.

“Maryland’s outdoor recreation sector generates $14 billion in spending each year, supporting 109,000 jobs throughout the state,” said Maryland Commerce Secretary Mike Gill. “Receiving this ARC grant will enhance our efforts to grow this industry and attract additional recreation and lifestyle businesses, as well as visitors, to Western Maryland. We believe this project has great potential to create new jobs for residents throughout the region.”

The project focuses on hiring a consulting team to produce a strategic and recruitment plan which will provide three specific deliverables: a situational attraction analysis highlighting the development of an industry-specific compatibility matrix, a regional strategic plan for business attraction, and the creation of an industry-focused, regional marketing/sales pitch packet. The plan’s implementation will empower Allegany and Garrett counties to create jobs, leverage private investment, and utilize its access to natural resources as a powerful marketing tool for economic development regionally and for the state of Maryland.

The Appalachian Regional Commission ( is an economic development partnership agency of the federal government and 13 state governments focusing on 420 counties across the Appalachian Region. ARC’s mission is to innovate, partner, and invest to build community capacity and strengthen economic growth in Appalachia. Governor Larry Hogan was selected as the ARC co-chair earlier this year, serving as the fifth Maryland governor to hold this position, and the first co-chair from Maryland since 1992.