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Thurmont Declared "Main Street" Town

Pamela Rigaux
Frederick News-Post

At a luncheon in Baltimore on Tuesday, Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael Steele announced Thurmont's Main Street Maryland designation.

"It's a fantastic accomplishment for Thurmont to be designated," said Jim Gangawere, community relations manager for the Frederick County Office of Economic Developtnent. "There are only 18 in the state."

The Main Street program, established in 1998, revitalizes downtowns by helping local business leaders network with planners and leaders in the state.

Thurmont will have access to more financial resources as a result of its new status, said John Kinnaird, the vice president of Thurmont Economic

Development Committee.

Mr. Kinnaird, members of the committee, and Thurmont Mayor Martin Burns attended the luncheon.

"It was a great experience," Mr. Kinnaird said. "We were in a room with all the communities that have participated in the Main Street Program. We had a great time."

Seven towns applied to be a Main Street designation this year. The state interviewed four.

"It's a real success story" for Thurmont, "especially since they started 18 months ago. It usually takes longer," Mr. Gangawere said. Thurmont Commissioner William Blakeslee "spent quite a bit of time working on the application," along with Mr. Kinnaird, and Economic Development Committee Chairwoman Vickie Grinder.

The application consisted ofletters of support from local residents and businesses, proclamations of support from local and county commissioners, a plan of action and an in-depth inventory of properties in downtown Thurmont designated for revitalization, Mr. Kinnaird said.

"Now the work's really going to begin," Mr. Gangawere said. "They have to set up an organization which will run the Main Street Program. But the beauty of it is, if you pattern yourself after the program, it will work."

Mr. Burns said he feared the state would hesitate to give the status to Thurmont this year because the county is already "heavy" in Main Street program designations.

"But they recognized the package we had," he said.

Frederick, Brunswick and Mount Airy are also Main Street program designations.

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