Hogan, officials open new wharf

Dorchester Banner/Paul Clipper Cambridge Mayor Victoria Jackson-Stanley and Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, center, along with local and state officials, cut the ribbon on the city’s new wharf at Governors Hall on July 17.

Dorchester Banner/Paul Clipper
Cambridge Mayor Victoria Jackson-Stanley and Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, center, along with local and state officials, cut the ribbon on the city’s new wharf at Governors Hall on July 17.

CAMBRIDGE – Mayor Victoria Jackson-Stanley greeted the crowd on hand July 17 for the dedication of the new deep water wharf at Governors Hall by quoting her church, saying “if we all do a little bit we can get a lot done.”
The reconstruction of the wharf near Sailwinds Park was funded by the Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT), the City of Cambridge, a $1 million Governor’s Grant and the Department of Commerce. MDOT provided $2.5 million; the City of Cambridge provided $1.7 million; and the Department of Commerce provided $500,000. The funding was provided prior to 2015, but the project was advertised for bids in December 2016 and was completed in May 2018.
The new wharf replaces a crumbling wood and concrete structure that was also being eroded from beneath the original pier. Construction of the new wharf has been ongoing for more than two years.
“The wharf at Governors Hall!” said Mayor Victoria Jackson-Stanley with her usual exuberance. “This is magnificent. All the work that it took to make this happen, to take the vision and make it into something wonderful. Not only is it beautiful, but it’s safe. And the view is breathtaking. I’m just proud to be part of the team that got this together, between Public Works, the city, the county and the state — this just turned out to be a magnificent day in the City of Cambridge.”
Public Works Director Odie Wheeler was pleased to see the work finished. “I think this is a great display of real cooperation between all the agencies involved, from the State of Maryland, to the county, to the city, all working to get this done. The way I view this project is phase one of what is yet to come. This is the anchor point of a project that will make Cambridge proud.”
“I think it’s really nice that we have such a beautiful presence on our waterfront,” said Brandon Hesson of Economic Development. “I think we underestimate how many people get their first impression of Cambridge by boat, seeing this wharf on their way up Cambridge Creek. It’s good to see some progress at this waterfront location. We talk about Sailwinds and development, and it’s going to be a long time coming but we’re starting to see some progress. This is a deep water port, and we intend to use this for its intended purpose. We intend to put cruise ships here, we’re bringing in the S.S. John Brown here (on Aug. 4) — that’s a 441 foot ship, and that means it’s going to hang off the end of the pier into the Choptank. It’s going to be quite a spectacle.”
Maryland Governor Larry Hogan was on hand for the dedication and ribbon cutting for the new wharf, and presented a citation to the city.
“You know, the state originally had this property, and rather than just do away with it or surplus it, it made more sense to work with the local community to figure out what kinds of things they wanted to see happen here,” Governor Hogan told The Banner. “I think it’s beautiful. This is a major transformative project here for the City of Cambridge and Dorchester County. You come across the bridge and see this here, and (the rest of the waterfront) with the potential to do something long term with the hospital property. This will make a huge difference in the city. Hopefully this will kickstart the next couple of phases in the transformation of the Cambridge waterfront.”
Originally, the development of the Sailwinds property was limited to the 11 acres surrounding the existing Governors Hall building. With the changes expected to come from the new University of Maryland Shore Medical Center to be located at the Cambridge Marketplace, the existing hospital property will be able to be factored into the land available for waterfront redevelopment. When finished, the new waterfront is expected to encompass all the land from Cambridge Creek to the Malkus Bridge.
“I think this is a great day,” said former Economic Development Director Natalie Chabot. “This was an Economic Development initiative, it was our number one project in our strategic plan at the time, and to get to this point is truly amazing. This is a great opportunity for Cambridge to change the face of Cambridge, it really is. The future ahead at this point is truly promising.”
“I’m glad to see the completion, because it’s been torn up for a couple of summers,” added Odie Wheeler. “And this is the time of year when people can come down here, sit on the benches and enjoy the view, enjoy the water that we have that a lot of places don’t have. For the citizens I’m glad it’s all finished.”

Paul Clipper is the editor of the Dorchester Banner. He can be reached at pclipper@newszap.com.

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