Cannery Park construction begins

CAMBRIDGE – Representatives from Eastern Shore Land Conservation and Cross Street Partners gathered on Jan. 23 to announce progress being made on the construction of Cannery Park, and to hold the first community charette to gather public input prior to creating a master plan for the park.

The project so far includes redevelopment of the Phillips Packing Company building on Dorchester Avenue, stream restoration for the headwaters of Cambridge Creek, and a Rails to Trails conversion of the old railroad line that runs through the park property.

Development of the park will be the culmination of seven years of planning on the project. The project is a partnership between the City of Cambridge, Dorchester County, Maryland DNR, and the Eastern Shore Land Conservancy. The success of the project so far “is a testament to the value created in partnerships,” said Katie Parks, director of Conservation for the ESLC.

The community charettes scheduled are intended to bring together ideas from Cambridge residents to help determine the makeup of the park. Cannery Park will be a “place of community gathering unique to the character and heritage of Cambridge and Dorchester County,” according to Ms. Parks.

Design of the park will be created by Parker Rodriguez, a landscape design firm from Alexandria, Va., which is the firm sponsoring the community charettes. Funding for the stream restoration project is being provided for by a grant from the Chesapeake and Atlantic Coastal Bay Trust Fund, which has earmarked $1.8 million for the restoration. The restoration is going on now, and ongoing work can be viewed from the crossing of Cambridge Creek and Cedar Street.

Cross Street Partners is also providing a portion of the funding for the park. Cross Street Partners is the firm working to restore the Phillips Packing Company buildings on Dorchester Avenue and reinvent the location as a retail food/farm-to-table centered establishment, possibly also containing a brewery operation. The City of Cambridge will retain ownership of the park itself.

As restoration and revitalization of the historic Phillips cannery building and park are complete, the location has acquired the name “The Packing House District.” The cannery buildings on Dorchester Avenue are the last remaining original structures of a 60-acre site used by the Phillips Packing Company in the early part of the 20th century.

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

You are encouraged to leave relevant comments but engaging in personal attacks, threats, online bullying or commercial spam will not be allowed. All comments should remain within the bounds of fair play and civility. (You can disagree with others courteously, without being disagreeable.) Feel free to express yourself but keep an open mind toward finding value in what others say. To report abuse or spam, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box.