(10/22) Thurmont is looking to capitalize on its past to help preserve its
The town has received a state grant to hire a consultant who will help town
representatives write an application for the National Trust for Historic
Main Street Manager Vickie Grinder said that achieving recognition from the
National Trust would open up additional opportunities to help revitalize
"It's a very prestigious designation and it makes us eligible for some
federal programs," Grinder said. "That's how Frederick received a lot of the
money for its Main Street Program."
The National Trust is a private, non-profit organization that works to save
historic places and revitalize communities. It assists community-based
development corporations and preservation organization to rebuild neighborhoods
with loan and grant programs. Businesses can also benefit through the National
Trust's National Main Street Program.
"What it means is that we're eligible for many more grants, low-interest
loans, training for property owners to help make houses and businesses more
attractive," said Town Commissioner Bill Blakeslee.
Chris Ryre has helped the town on behalf of the state to receive some of its
designations. He pointed out that any building over 50 years old in the
district would be eligible to receive tax credits for improvements of around 20
percent. Only a couple of Maryland Main Street communities don't have the
National Register District designation from the National Trust.
Grinder said she hopes the application is ready by next August, but she also
cautions that, on average, it takes two submissions to the National Trust to
receive the recognition.
"This misconception people have is that businesses will be regulated in
their store design," Ryre said. "While that can happen, it would only apply to
businesses that choose to take the tax credits. The program is voluntary."
A second piece of the $16,625 grant also allows the town to hire a
consultant to conduct a market study.
"Market studies scare people when they hear that because they think it means
growth," Grinder said. "It gives us information for grants and information we
can use to attract businesses. It's something good for Thurmont to use. It's
like a third eye."
She expects that the same company that helped Thurmont win its Main Street
designation will be the one to conduct the market study, which could be
completed next spring.