CAMBRIDGE — The Cambridge City Council moved forward with drafts of transfer agreements of the Sailwinds port and gateway properties during their regular meeting held via teleconference Monday evening, April 27.
Mayor Victoria Jackson-Stanley presided over the meeting from council chambers, and the commissioners, city manager, city attorney, and citizens participated remotely.
Cambridge Waterfront Development, Inc. Interim Executive Directer Sandra Tripp-Jones delivered a request to the city from CWDI to approve drafts of transfer agreements for properties at the site on the Choptank River in Cambridge.
Tripp-Jones said that due to the COVID-19 shutdown, that CWDI had reevaluated its priorities and was “intent on continuing with our mission.”
“We may see more challenges, but there is a lot that we can do,” Tripp-Jones said.
She said that during this uncertain time, CWDI agreed to attempt to complete the transfers of port, hospital and gateway properties, while continuing talks with potential site occupants. CWDI will also continue to seek funding from the state for improvements, but no money will be requested from the City of Cambridge or Dorchester County.
The council members voted unanimously on motions to approve drafts of transfer agreements from the city to CWDI for the port property and the gateway property near Rt. 50. The port property transfer request does not include the boardwalk.
According to city attorney Chip MacLeod, the agreement drafts will allow the city and CWDI to approach the state about beginning the transfer process now, and waiving the appraisal required by the existing agreement between the City of Cambridge, who owns the property, and the State of Maryland.
The drafts specify that CWDI must comply with all of the same requirements that the City agreed to when the state originally transferred the property.
The current agreement requires the city to get an appraisal for the property prior to any transfer, and to take the proceeds from the sale of the property and re-invest the funds back into the waterfront area.
The council agreed to ask the state to allow this responsibility to pass to CWDI with the property as CWDI has neither the means to purchase the property outright, nor a firm buyer or buyer for any portion on the land.
“Sometime in the future we would like to be reimbursed,” said Commissioner Donald Sydnor, as the council moved to lay out specific details in a memorandum of understanding for how the city would receive compensation for the properties in the future.
Tripp-Jones said that while CWDI decided not to request city or county funds, it will bring new possibilities back to the Council. “We think it’s our responsibility to work with what we have,” she said.
“If it turns out that we have projects that we’d like to come to talk to you about, we’d like to be able to do that,” she said.