2017 was such a great year, and we took a few minutes to look back and reflect on all that happened. In a not-so-scientific way, we combined social media reach and media interactions to come up with this informal list of the Top 6 story lines over the past 12 months.
NUMBER 6: Cambridge LOVES the Holidays
Whether it was fireworks in July, Christmas parades in December, or the boat drop this weekend, Cambridge loves to get out and enjoy the holidays.
Traditional favorites continued, like the Fourth of July fireworks show over the Choptank River, which is viewed by thousands from the shoreline here, and the Cambridge-Dorchester County Christmas Parade celebrated its 69th year. Rescue Fire Cambridge made some improvements to their annual Christmas Train Garden, which is such a tradition for so many families here and in neighboring communities.
Some newer traditions were also a hit. This weekend, the New Year’s Eve Boat Drop will happen on Poplar Street, and Cambridge Marketplace brought us the city’s first Halloween fireworks display. Cambridge Main Street’s original Bushel Basket Christmas Tree continued to get attention near and far, and is featured in this piece by onlyinyourstate.com (http://bit.ly/2BQKmyJ).
NUMBER 5: It Was a Big Year for Recognition
What better way to celebrate the Top 6 stories of the year by looking at how the City of Cambridge and some of its attractions and businesses made headlines. This isn’t an exhaustive list, but we’ve done our best to find these throughout the year. If you stumble across them from time to time, send them to us.
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Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge gets noticed here as a relaxing place to visit (http://bit.ly/2lqEIwj).
Ocean Odyssey makes this list of the top 11 crab joints on the Chesapeake Bay (http://bit.ly/2lpDVvy).
Cindy’s Kitchen gets named the best diner in Maryland in this piece by PureWow (http://bit.ly/2CoUSyo).
Cambridge is recognized here as a Top 10 place to visit over the summer (http://bit.ly/2lrfpdk), and here as a Top 10 small town on the Chesapeake Bay (https://www.coastalliving.com/travel/top-10/10-best-small-towns-chesapeake-bay), and the Washingtonian spent a weekend here eating crabs, drinking beer, enjoying the outdoors, and writing this great piece about it (http://bit.ly/2EdB95l).
NUMBER 4: We’ve Made Upgrades to Support the Public
Technology and social media has played a big part in helping the City of Cambridge provide better service to the public. The city website, choosecambridge.com, got a much-needed redesign. The new city website is mobile-friendly, makes it easier to access meeting schedules, agendas and minutes, and allows the public to get email and text updates.
We also started live-streaming city council meetings through townhallstreams.com, to make sure everyone in the city has access to public meetings. Simply go to townhallstreams.com, select Cambridge, Maryland from the dropdown menu, and you can access current and archived city council meetings.
The city was also recognized by ESRI with an international ‘Special Achievement in GIS’ award for its work to map deteriorated housing conditions with partners from Salisbury University, Mid-Shore Regional Council and the Eastern Shore Regional GIS Cooperative. The city was also accepted to present this project during the ESRI Public Sector Conference in Philadelphia.
More recently, the addition of recycling containers on Leonards Lane got a lot of positive feedback, and we hope this added service makes recycling easier for more city residents.
NUMBER 3: Cambridge Marketplace Makes a Big Splash
There is VERY little separating these final three storylines of the year, and no one story had a bigger social media reaction than the release of the initial conceptual drawings of Cambridge Marketplace, where it was revealed that the shopping center is proposing to include a Lidl grocery store and Chick-Fil-A.
Later in the year, University of Maryland Shore Regional Health announced a plan to relocate its Cambridge hospital into a freestanding medical center located on the same property as Cambridge Marketplace, which is likely to expand medical services here.
This $100 million development project has gotten a lot of attention throughout the state, but the most important piece of this story is how committed property owner Fairchild Properties has become here in the city. The family-run business has supported a number of community efforts with logistical support and donations behind the scenes and outside of the headlines.
NUMBER 2: Community Development Makes Huge Strides
Easily, no story of 2017 had more national and international coverage than the opening of the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Historic Park and Visitor’s Center in March, and no other story was as historically meaningful to Cambridge than the Eastern Shore Network for Change and its Reflections on Pine. Together, these two stories had an incredible impact on the dialogue within our community, drew attention to unresolved topics, introduced a productive venue to discuss them, and started an honest conversation about our historic past and how we all play a role in the bright future of Cambridge.
In February, The Eastern Shore Network for Change hosted a Community Discussion, which was attended by Lieutenant Governor Boyd Rutherford, and featured a Skype session with Gloria Richardson Dandridge, who eventually returned to Cambridge for Reflections on Pine, and was covered in this Dorchester Banner piece (http://bit.ly/2ljg2qq). The Dorchester Star wrote up this piece on the recognition of past and present influential African-American leaders here (http://bit.ly/2DtMo8c).
The Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Historic National Park and Visitor’s Center is reporting an average of 10,000 visitors per month since it opened in March, and it has drawn a lot of attention to the Harriet Tubman Byway, which runs throughout Dorchester and neighboring counties. As a result, the Tubman Byway has been featured by the CBS Evening News (http://cbsn.ws/2ljdloy), US News and World Report (http://bit.ly/2zMZlrz) Washington Post (http://wapo.st/2ll4vXl), Baltimore Sun (http://bit.ly/2CgGB9n and http://bit.ly/2CkIim3), Capital Gazette (http://bit.ly/2BWPZvn), Washingtonian (http://bit.ly/2CndFdm), the local Dorchester Banner (http://bit.ly/2EexWSQ), and so many more.
NUMBER 1: Maple Lions Take Center Stage
It’s been a great year for Cambridge residents, but if anyone is living the dream right now, it’s the Maple Elementary School marching band. These young dynamos have been featured locally and nationally, most recently appearing on the field at Ravens Stadium during a primetime Sunday NFL game.
It all started when instructor Ray Washington received the Teach Who Makes a Difference Award by the regional television network WMDT (http://bit.ly/2EddbXE). That interesting piece earned enough coverage in print publications to catch the eye of Good Morning America, which gave Washington and the Marching Lions their first few minutes in the national spotlight (http://abcn.ws/2Ch2khr). Since then, these local stars have been covered twice by the Baltimore Sun (http://bsun.md/2lkgJPY and http://bsun.md/2zLpG9n), Baltimore Magazine (http://bit.ly/2lqQE1a) and a slew of other news outlets across America.
This story features everything we love about our town: active and engaged youth, teachers doing a little bit extra to make the difference in the lives of children, and the recognition of role models throughout our community.