Commissioners Open Cherry Glade Run Bridge; Town Dedicates Brian F. Thomas Drive

Last Updated on Nov 22, 2016 at 12:10pm | Garrett County Economic Development

The Garrett County Commissioners have officially opened the Cherry Glade Run Bridge connecting Rt. 219 to Fourth Street, and the Town of Oakland has renamed Penny Lane as “Brian F. Thomas Drive” in memory of Clear Mountain Bank’s late president and CEO.  The road opening and dedication took place during a ribbon cutting ceremony on November 18th.
 
The Cherry Glade Run Bridge and local access road project was completed in two phases.  Phase one provided access to Dairy Queen and Clear Mountain Bank in the North Oak Plaza.  Phase two included the “daylighting” of Cherry Glade Run; the construction of a bridge, and the completion of the road to connect with Fourth Street. This project brought the three remaining parcels owned by the Board of County Commissioners out of a 100-year flood plain for additional commercial development to leverage private investment and create jobs.
 
Williams Land Management Company, LLC, is under contract to purchase the parcels with plans to construct a hotel, a restaurant, and a third retail establishment.  A major contributor to the road project was the Appalachian Regional Commission, which is committed to developing and improving Appalachia’s infrastructure to make the region economically competitive. Project team partners included the Maryland State Highway Administration; the Federal Highway Administration; the Maryland Department of Planning; Tri-County Council for Western Maryland; the Maryland Department of Environment; the Maryland Department of Natural Resources; the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service; Highland Engineering and Surveying, for project design and engineering; the Canaan Valley Institute, stream restoration specialist; and Beitzel Corporation, contractor for construction.
 
Brian F. Thomas was the president and CEO of Clear Mountain Bank, one of the first businesses to construct and locate within the North Oak Plaza.  Following a courageous battle with cancer, Mr. Thomas passed away in August of 2016.  The completion of the Cherry Glade Run Bridge and access road were part of Thomas’ vision when the bank moved to the North Oak Plaza in 2011.
 
Brian Thomas was an antique car enthusiast, and helped the bank purchase a custom 1934 Ford Roadster a few years ago.  Following the ribbon cutting, the Roadster was the first vehicle to cross the bridge, driven by Thomas’ son, Chase, along with the Thomas family.
 
“The opening of this beautiful roadway demonstrates what can be accomplished by having a great vision and being community- oriented,” said David Thomas, president and CEO-elect at Clear Mountain Bank, and brother of Brian Thomas.  “Brian excelled in both of these areas so this is a very fitting tribute to him.  We are touched and thankful that Brian's legacy has been honored in this special way and look forward to the future growth and development that will result from the opening of ‘Brian F. Thomas Drive.’”