Jul. 9—CUMBERLAND — The Federal Emergency Management Agency logistics center in Cumberland will remain after FEMA and county officials agreed to a new five-year lease extension.
The FEMA center is located in the North Branch Industrial Park on PPG Road in Mexico Farms with 25 federal workers employed at the site.
The new lease agreement was approved Thursday at the regular meeting of the Allegany County Board of Commissioners.
"This is a bit of a celebration this evening," said Jeffrey Barclay, the county director of economic and community development. "This is a big one for us."
The agreement will extend the lease from February 2022 to February 2027.
The FEMA center first opened in 2004. The center stores water, food, generators and a fleet of mobile homes to be used in the event of a large-scale emergency.
Barclay said the FEMA center started with 500,000 square feet but it has been expanded over the years with the addition of more building space.
"They have been very good to work with," said Barclay. "They are leasing 74 acres ... in an about 660,000 square feet building and we get very good rent from that which goes into our revolving building fund and allows us to be very flexible with what we do with economic development. It allows us to do things that don't tax the general fund. So that is a great thing for us to celebrate and go forward with for the next five years."
"This is a very nice shot in the arm for us financially and it keeps the center here in Cumberland," said Jake Shade, county commission president.
Barclay said the FEMA center normally helps with East Coast disasters but they can be called upon to help anywhere. The center was activated for Hurricane Katrina on the Gulf Coast and Superstorm Sandy in the Northeast.
"They can offer living arrangements for folks in disaster areas whether it is a flood or hurricane," said Barclay. "That's what they do. When FEMA is called in they respond to these emergency situations. They are one of dozens of FEMA centers around the country."
Greg Larry is a reporter at Cumberland Times-News. To reach him, call 304-639-4951, email firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @GregLarryCTN.