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Thurmont Main Street moves toward a new future

(7/3) With the resignation of Thurmont Main Street Manager Vickie Grinder last month, town businesspeople want to build on the momentum Grinder created for the program and bring in more businesses and volunteers.

“All the businesses in town do better when the downtown prospers,” said Thurmont Chief Administrative Officer Bill Blakeslee, who is currently serving as the interim Main Street Manager.

He told a group of about two dozen businesspeople and citizens on June 30, “We’re going to keep prospering and growing.”

Thurmont first became a Main Street Maryland Community in 2005. However, one thing that Thurmont has lacked since the beginning is an elected board of directors who would oversee the work of Thurmont.

Blakeslee is planning to hold the election for a board of directors at the next meeting of the town’s economic development committee on Aug. 20.

“I think that’s one way we’re going to get a little more activity going,” Blakeslee said.

As for finding a replacement for Grinder, the town has already started receiving resumes and will continue to solicit them until July 18. The Main Street Manager’s position will change slightly, though, as it becomes more of a facilitator rather than someone who handles most of the work. That will fall to volunteers and committees.

Main Street will continue to sponsor Furmont Day, Christmas in Thurmont, Gallery Stroll and the Thurmont Business Expo. Coordinators for each of those events are volunteers.

Thurmont Main Street will also start sponsoring ribbon-cutting events for new businesses in town. The group used to do this, but stopped for unknown reasons.

“It’s one thing most of the businesses in town appreciate,” said John Kinnaird, one of the business owners in attendance.

A new event Thurmont Main Street will sponsor this year is a 5K run from downtown out to the Hillside Turkey Farm.

“For every job we can create in Thurmont, it’s one less person who has to drive down the road,” Blakeslee said. It also allows that person more time to be able to participate in town events, which enhances the quality of life in town.

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