City backs Union Rescue Mission move

Oct. 5—CUMBERLAND, Md. — City officials voted unanimously Tuesday to contribute $750,000 to help the Union Rescue Mission move its operation to North Centre Street.

Numerous residents of the area attended the meeting of the mayor and the City Council, with several speaking passionately against the move prior to the vote.

Pastor David Ziler, director of the mission, has a signed contract to purchase the former High Point Furniture Outlet at 710 N. Centre St. Ziler said the mission will contribute $500,000 of its own money, with the expectation that the $1.2 million deal will close on Oct. 21.

The mission is currently located downtown at 16 Queen City Pavement in a 12,000-square-foot building that is in poor condition. The former High Point Furniture building has 32,000 square feet and potential outdoor green space.

Nick Dearcangelis, who owns a business and lives on North Centre Street, said the residents of the area need more time to understand the implications of the move.

"Pastor Ziler has some great ideas. He really does," said Dearcangelis. "We need Pastor Ziler to give us a presentation of what he wants to do. You've got to sell the concept. You can't force, as a mayor and City Council, pushing this down the neighbors' throats."

Many of the citizens said they only learned of the move in the last couple of weeks. Many expressed fears of increased vagrancy and loitering and decreasing property values.

Ziler spoke passionately about helping his clients. He said the site is perfect for the operation and safety will be a primary focus of the mission.

"Those people you are seeing hanging around downtown or under the bridge ... they are not our people," said Ziler. "We are here to help those that want a hand up."

Ziler said the Rescue Mission, with the space provided on North Centre Street, will become a work-based assistance program. People accepted into the mission will have to work 20 hours a week in a variety of service-related programs to receive the mission's services.

Cumberland Mayor Ray Morriss said, "The bottom line is that Pastor Ziler has looked at several places over the last three to four years and (710 N. Centre St.) is the best property for him to offer the services he needs to offer in this community."

Ziler said the building, once acquired, will undergo a $3.8 million renovation and he hopes to open sometime in 2024.

Greg Larry is a reporter at the Cumberland Times-News. To reach him, call 304-639-4951, email and follow him on Twitter @GregLarryCTN.