Port Deposit unveils waterfront revitalization Old plant site due town houses, marina

March 07, 1992|By John Rivera | John Rivera,Staff Writer

In an article that appeared in Saturday's editions of The Sun, the name of the company constructing a Port Deposit waterfront was incorrect. The developer is United Dominion Industries in Charlotte, Va.

The Sun regrets the error.

Officials of Port Deposit on the Susquehanna River in Cecil County are hoping a proposed $50 million waterfront development will attract new homeowners and revitalize the town's economy.

The development is to include 50 town houses and a marina in the first phase, and shops and restaurants later on, said Mayor Erma M. Keetley. The entire project is to take about three years to complete.


Ms. Keetley announced the project Thursday at its future site during the dismantling of one of the three 150-foot cranes that the now-defunct Wiley Manufacturing Co. used in building sections for the Fort McHenry and Harbor tunnels. The manufacturing company also built ships at the plant.

Wiley Manufacturing's closing in 1987 dealt a major blow to the town's economy, and the property has sat unused since then.

Each town house will sell for about $100,000 and have a boat slip in the marina. Major parts of the project will be open to the public, including the marina and a walkway through the development for access to the waterfront.

Ms. Keetley said the developer, United Dominion Realty Trust of Richmond, Va., is hoping to attract people from Baltimore, Philadelphia and Wilmington, Del., who might want to own a second home for weekends or vacations.

The developers will begin marketing the town houses now and wait to see how quickly they sell before deciding to embark on subsequent building phases.

Port Deposit officials also hope to obtain a federal community development block grant to rebuild sidewalks, improve lighting and install new landscaping to spruce up the historic town along the Susquehanna, which has 700 residents and was incorporated in 1813.

"We have a lot of refurbishing to do ourselves," Ms. Keetley said. "We have to do our part to make it look good for the new development." City officials have not figured out the cost

of such improvements, but United Dominion has indicated that it will pay for part of it.

Ms. Keetley said the city hopes to restore several of its historic buildings. The town bank, which was built in 1904, was abandoned shortly after Wiley Manufacturing closed. The building will be refurbished in the hopes of attracting another bank.

The Paw-Paw Building, which was built in 1821 and served as one of the town's first churches, will be restored and used as a library and museum of Port Deposit history.

And the town is trying to annex the Tome Institute portion of the Bainbridge Naval property. Uses for the property are being studied that include a scenic overlook , a historic information site and a conference center.

Ms. Keetley said she hopes the waterfront development will be the catalyst that spurs all these projects and leads to a thorough rejuvenation of the scenic riverfront town.

"This certainly will help," she said. "Fifty million dollars is going to bring a little bit of money into the town."

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