James Rada, Jr.
(2/7) Many people will tell you
Mayberry doesn’t exist. Quaint towns with
thriving Main Streets are a thing of the past
that only exist in old movies and TV shows …
or in Maryland Main Street Communities like
Thurmont, Frederick and Taneytown.
“Being a Main Street Community has brought
us new stores and shops,” said Nancy
McCormick, Taneytown economic development
Maryland Main Street is a revitalization
program created in 1998 by the Maryland
Department of Housing and Community
Development. The program helps improve the
economy, image and appearance of Maryland’s
traditional downtown business districts.
“Main Street is an avenue to increase
grants and visibility for the whole town of
Thurmont,” said Vickie Grinder, Thurmont’s
Main Street manager.
According to the Maryland DHCD, the
Maryland Main Street program, which now
includes 18 communities, has led to $74
million in investment in those communities and
created 400 new businesses and 1,800 new jobs.
Grinder said that the process of becoming a
Maryland Main Street Community in 2005 was
only the first step. The designation opened
doors for the town, but it also showed other
doors that the town needed to get through for
“What it’s done for us is gotten more
people to invest in their properties and
upgrade them,” McCormick said.
Grinder also points out that the
revitalization affects the entire town, not
just the Main Street area.
“Some grants are just for the designated
Main Street, but others are for any business
in town. You just have to know where to find
them and that’s what being a Main Street can
help you do,” Grinder said.
Since becoming a Main Street Community in
2005, Thurmont has gotten grants to help
refurbish the old trolley trail, restore the
Thurmont Trolley, improve building facades,
get street signage, produce a brochure and
purse a town marketing study.
“It’s been a slow process but we’re
starting to reap the benefits,” Grinder said.
“When you add it all together, you’re looking
at over $200,000 it has brought to the
Emmitsburg was once a part of the program,
but dropped out. Now Mayor James Hoover says
there is some interest in becoming part of the
program again, but the state hasn’t been
forthcoming with answers to questions from the
“The state has not added any Main Streets
in 2006 or 2007 and there are no plans to add
any in 2008,” said Grinder.
Hoover said he would like to get either
Grinder or McCormick or both to come and speak
to the town commissioners about the process of
becoming a Main Street Community.