CVB's Tom Riford Pushes C&O Canal Repair
PHOTO CAP: Maryland Department of Natural Resources Secretary John Griffin and Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley and Hagerstown-Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau President Tom Riford
CVB's Tom Riford Pushes C&O Canal Repair; Presents Big Slackwater Project to Governor O'Malley; Town Hall Meeting Attended by Entire Cabinet
Maryland Department of Natural Resources Secretary John Griffin and Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley heard from Hagerstown-Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau President Tom Riford about plans for the C&O Canal National Historical Park's "Big Slackwater" section. The dangerous 6-mile detour around the washed-out section of the park needs to be repaired, and will increase safety and add positive economic impact.
Speaking on behalf of a significant coalition of organizations and governments, Riford presented the information at the Governor's first Town Hall Meeting on February 4th. At the Frostburg meeting, he was accompanied by C&O Canal NHP Superintendent Kevin Brandt, Williamsport Mayor James McCleaf, and members of the C&O Canal Association, and other community leaders. Several hundred people attended the meeting.
The Governor promised to assist in every possible way to help repair Maryland's largest and most-visited national park. Several State of Maryland staffers have been working on possible assistance options, including earmarking economic stimulus funds towards the effort.
Additionally, Tom Riford also met with Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot. The closed-door February 9th meeting in Hagerstown included presenting information about the C&O Canal project. The repair of the Big Slackwater section will create and maintain several hundred jobs in Washington County, and also bring more than $2-million in direct local economic impact. The Big Slackwater section was closed following a 1996 storm, and the dangerous detour has caused more than 35 injuries to people requiring hospitalization.
The Big Slackwater "break" is the only gap in the C&O Canal NHP, and the only detour in the entire 335-mile Great Allegheny Passage from Pittsburgh to Georgetown.