Town of Emmitsburg
300A S. Seton Ave Emmitsburg, Maryland

Emmitsburg Comprehensive Plan
A General Plan for Emmitsburg, Maryland

Chapter 1: Introduction
Chapter 2: The 1974 Comprehensive Plan for Emmitsburg
Chapter 3: Demographic Element
Chapter 4: Land Use Element
Chapter 5: Transportation Element
Chapter 6: Housing
Chapter 7: Economic Development and Renewal
Chapter 8: Community Design Element
Chapter 9: Community Facilities
Chapter 10: Environment and Sensitive Areas
Chapter 11: Implementation Strategies

Chapter 7: Economic Development and Renewal

A healthy economy is essential to the continued growth of Emmitsburg. Without a strong economic base, Emmitsburg will not be able to implement the Town Comprehensive Plan, nor will the Town have the fiscal strength to provide the kinds of services desired by the existing and future residents. A healthy economy means more than just new jobs; it means increased incomes for Emmitsburg's residents, a welcome environment for existing and new businesses, and increased fiscal capacity and financial stability for the Town. The Town established the Emmitsburg Economic Renewal Committee to further the goal for a healthy economy and to promote a vision for the next twenty years in terms of Emmitsburg's economic base and business climate. The Economic Renewal Committee was charged with assisting in the development of the Economic Development and Renewal Element of the Emmitsburg Comprehensive Plan.

The Emmitsburg Economic Renewal Committee recognizes that one of the principal purposes of an economic development effort is to provide a sufficient tax base for continued growth and prosperity of the Town. Revenues raised from property taxes, sales taxes, permits and user fees contribute substantially funding a wide variety of infrastructure and public service investments. Operations as varied as public safety, water and sewer, street improvements, and parks and recreation are, to some extent, dependent upon continued growth and economic viability of the Town. The Emmitsburg Economic Renewal Committee also acknowledges that an effective economic development policy is one that integrates the existing economic and cultural resources of the Town with new economic investments in the area to create a sustainable business climate and employment opportunities for Emmitsburg residents.

Central themes were identified by the Economic Renewal Committee in regard to economic development activities at Emmitsburg. These include economic development initiatives for the Emmitsburg community that: (1) Set Emmitsburg apart from other nearby towns; (2) Work with Emmitsburg's existing and anticipated labor force; and (3) Fit with the Vision that the Town has for itself as a community. The Economic Renewal Committee also attempted to identify specific market niches or strategies in which the Town could focus its economic development efforts. These strategies focused on integrating Emmitsburg's existing building inventory with newer development and included the following: (1) A series of small, boutique-type shops that line Main Street and other commercial areas; (2) A Center for Creativity, involving businesses that support and add to a base of entrepreneurs starting up small companies; including a business incubator; (3) An Agricultural Center, in which the primary business elements will be the preservation of surrounding farms; (4) A Recreation Center in which bike shops, ski shops, and stores selling horse equipment and similar businesses are the main element; (5) An historic community with antique shops, restaurants and visitor's museums as the main element of the community; (6) Some combination of each of the above concepts.

Economic development and renewal involves two concepts that should remain interlinked in Emmitsburg. To a great extent, economic development involves the marketing, promotion, and development of lands in the designated employment corridor along US 15, while economic renewal comprises the marketing, promotion, and revitalization of the existing core businesses along Main Street and Seton Avenue. These two concepts are not mutually exclusive and taken together should result in overall economic growth and vitality within Emmitsburg. To accomplish these two ends, the Town should establish an aggressive Economic Development organization that will contract for a Targeted Business Analysis for Emmitsburg to be prepared by a highly qualified economic consultant. The Targeted Business Analysis should identify strong economic sectors given the prevailing market factors. This analysis will permit the Economic Development organization to focus on business recruitment from economic sectors in which Emmitsburg has a comparative advantage. This Plan strongly encourages the use of incentive packages to entice targeted businesses from identified strong business sectors to locate in Emmitsburg.

Emmitsburg has two primary focus areas for economic development: 1) the Main Street Core, and 2) the US 15 Employment Corridor. Economic revitalization and JR development of these areas will provide a stronger economic base for the Town and more local employment opportunities for Emmitsburg residents. The economic development or revitalization of both of these areas should be the focus of Town policy.

It is essential the Comprehensive Plan designate sufficient land for economic expansion and ensure that such land is strategically located to maximize the potential for meeting market demands. Further, the Comprehensive Plan must provide assurances to the existing Main Street business community that the kind of investments necessary to promote continued economic viability of the Main Street commercial core, as well as the investments needed to promote business creation along the US 15 corridor, are planned and that implementation strategies to fund these improvements will be followed in a timely manner by the Town. As a document, this Comprehensive Plan must provide the reliability and predictability that is essential to attracting new economic investments to Emmitsburg while retaining and supporting the existing business community.


The Emmitsburg area's employment base includes retail, construction, and service sector operations, as well three major employers, (1) Mount Saint Mary's College; (2) Federal Emergency Management Agency (i.e., FEMA) - National Emergency Training Center; and (3) St. Joseph's Provincial House/Villa St. Michael/St. Catherine's Nursing Center. Both Mount Saint Mary's College and FEMA's National Emergency Training Center are located outside Emmitsburg's corporate limits, although Emmitsburg's residents are employed at both institutions. St. Joseph's Provincial House/Villa St. Michael/St. Catherine's Nursing Center are within the Emmitsburg corporate limits.

Labor Characteristics

Nearly 86 percent of Emmitsburg workers are employed in the private sector, which includes employees of Mount Saint Mary's College, while 13 percent of employed

residents work in government. Retail trade followed by construction and educational services are the predominant industries that employ the residents of Emmitsburg. This is indicative of service and construction sector employment that is predominant in Frederick County. The proximity to Mount Saint Mary's College accounts for much of the educational services employment component of Emmitsburg's resident population.

Census data indicate that Emmitsburg had a potential labor force (i.e., persons 16 years and older) of 1,287 persons in 1990, and had 962 persons in the labor force. At that time, Emmitsburg had an estimated unemployment rate of 3.8 percent, indicating that 37 persons in the local workforce were unemployed. A total of 84 percent of Emmitsburg males 16 years or older were in the labor force, while 66 percent of Emmitsburg females age 16 years or older were in the labor force.

A substantial number of Emmitsburg residents commute out of Town for employment. In 1990, the estimated average travel time to work for Emmitsburg residents was 22.7 minutes. Fully one quarter of workers (25.4 percent) car pooled to their place of employment, while 65.1 percent drove alone. A total of 8.8 percent of the labor force either walked to their jobs or worked at home.

In terms of occupation, in 1990 Emmitsburg residents were employed in a variety of market sectors indicating significant workforce diversity. The leading sectors were: Service Occupations (20.5%); Precision Production, Craft, and Repair Occupations (20.0%); Administrative Support, including Clerical Occupations (14.1 %); and Executive, Administrative, and Managerial Occupations 0 1.5%). Other leading occupational sectors included: Machine Operators, Assemblers, and Inspectors (7.2%); Professional Specialty Occupations (6.7%); and Sales Occupations (6.4%).

Table VII.2, Industry Profile of Employed Persons in the Emmitsburg area for 1990 provides additional information on the employment characteristics of Emmitsburg's workforce. In 1990, the leading industry sectors in which Emmitsburg residents were employed were Retail Trade, followed by Construction, and Educational Services. Manufacturing of both nondurable and durable goods employed over 15 percent of Emmitsburg residents, although Table VII.3 indicates that only one manufacturing establishment was in operation in 1990 in the area comprising the Emmitsburg Zip Code. This indicates that most Emmitsburg residents employed in the manufacturing industry were commuting out of Emmitsburg for employment.

Business Characteristics

Table VII.3 indicates the leading business sectors in the greater Emmitsburg area. The Services industry is the leading business sector with Religious Organizations accounting for seven establishments, and General Automotive Repair Shops and Civic and Social Organizations accounting for three establishments apiece in 1994. The number of Service establishments rose from 31 to 34 between 1990 and 1994. Retail trade establishments followed by Construction businesses are the second and third biggest industry sectors in the greater Emmitsburg area. Increases in the numbers of Retail Trade and Construction establishments occurred between 1990 and 1994. No decrease in business establishments occurred between 1990 and 1994 in any of the industrial classifications in the greater Emmitsburg area. In regard to specific Retail Trade increases, the Census data indicate that the greater Emmitsburg area had eight Eating Places and two Gasoline Stations in 1990 and ten Eating Places and five Gasoline Stations in 1994.

Projected Employment Growth

The Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (i.e., MWCOG) prepares Cooperative Forecasts of employment trends throughout the greater metropolitan region. This information is provided by Frederick County Department of Planning and Zoning and added to the MWCOG Cooperative Forecast model. The Round 5.3 Cooperative Forecasts indicate employment projections for Emmitsburg proper and the surrounding areas to the Pennsylvania State line. The area north of Main Street/MD 140 is CAZ 932C, and the area south of Main Street/MD 140 is CAZ 932B. The land areas comprising Mount Saint Mary's College and College Mountain comprise CAZ 932A. (See Map V11.1).

Source: Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, Round 5.3 Cooperative Forecasts

Note that the data from the MWCOG Cooperative Forecast process are prepared for entire counties and regions representing long time frames. The MWCOG Cooperative Forecasts for Emmitsburg were developed with the assistance of Frederick County Department of Planning and Zoning using the growth potential, indicated through analysis of zoning and comprehensive plan designations, for the Emmitsburg area. While the year 2000 employment projections are higher than what may actually occur, the year 2010 and 2020 projections appear to be consistent with the employment potential under the current Thurmont Region Plan and with existing Emmitsburg zoning. The Round 5.3 Cooperative Forecasts indicate employment growth in the Emmitsburg area generally located in CAZ 932B and CAZ 932C. (See Map V11.1).

The employment growth between the years 1995 and 2020 is projected to comprise more than 840 jobs and is expected to be located primarily along the US 15 corridor near East Main Street/MD 140. This area is indicated in this Comprehensive Plan for commercial, office and limited industrial land uses. Consequently, the US 15 corridor is planned to be the focus of office and light industrial employment growth in the Emmitsburg area through the twenty year time-frame of this Plan. Employment growth in the area of Mount Saint Mary's College is expected to increase only slightly through the year 2020, primarily through expansion of the existing institutional uses.


The Town of Emmitsburg is part of a larger regional market that crosses both county and state boundaries. Economic development efforts for Emmitsburg should be effectively linked with the different economic development interests throughout northern Frederick County, including adjacent Maryland Counties of Carroll and Washington and the boroughs and townships of Adams County, Pennsylvania. Emmitsburg must fully participate in these larger economic development processes and the Town must assume a leadership role in developing regional strategies for economic development.

Mount Saint Mary's College, the FEMA National Emergency Training Center, St. Joseph's Provincial House/Villa St. Michael/St. Catherine's Nursing Center are large institutional uses and major employers in the Emmitsburg area. The Town should develop a strong and on-going working relationship with each of these institutions and local civic and citizen's associations in the Emmitsburg area to develop a regional strategy for economic development for northern Frederick County.

The Emmitsburg Citizens and Businesses Survey was circulated in July and August 1997 by the Emmitsburg Economic Renewal Committee. Residents were asked to identify "ideas that you think would work in our community" to assist in development of a Vision of what Emmitsburg should become over the next five to twenty years. While respondents chose from the following listed scenarios, they also added responses of their own to the survey form under a separate category. Fifteen responses were received by August 15, 1997.

The following includes responses that were added to the Emmitsburg Citizens and Businesses Survey forms, indicating non-prompted wants and desires of the respondents (the numeral in the parenthesis indicates the number of times a specific response was indicated):

  • bike paths (4);
  • greenways/walkways (3);
  • movie theaters (3);
  • recreation center (2);
  • bakery (l);
  • bike shop (l);
  • book and card shops (1);
  • boutiques (1);
  • bowling (1);
  • crafts and artisans (1);
  • craft supply shops (1);
  • department store (1);
  • equestrian activities (1);
  • farmers market (1);
  • hardware store (1);
  • low impact office parks (1);
  • medical uses (1);
  • more parks (1);
  • music shops (1);
  • playhouse/theater (1); and
  • ski shop (1).

Other comments included:

  • "Saturdays in the Park, like Baker Park in Frederick"; 0 "Keep the 'small-town feel' to Emmitsburg.;
  • "Areas of activity or entertainment for our growing population"; 0 .places to eat and socialize";
  • "attract the (non-alcohol) shopping of MSM students and their parents"; and "Isn't the mail enough"?
  • "No WalMart - would kill Emmitsburg";
  • "Hardware store with bins and w/o prepackaging";
  • "Heritage Areas Program, History, scenery, spiritual"; and
  • "Marketing strategy to attract businesses listed above".

As stated previously, Emmitsburg has two primary focus areas for economic development: 1) the Main Street Core, and 2) the US 15 Employment Corridor. The economic development or revitalization of both of these areas remain the focus for Emmitsburg economic development policy.

Transportation and parking are factors that have an impact on the economic health of the Main Street Core area. Transportation, in terms of through truck and commuter traffic, and the availability of and access to parking downtown has an impact on the economic viability of the downtown business community. The Town should work with the State Highway Administration to develop and implement transportation management solutions to reduce the levels of through truck traffic in downtown Emmitsburg. The Town should also conduct a thorough Parking Study in the downtown to determine the overall parking needs of the business community. After completion of the parking study, the Town should implement a Parking Management Program to manage the existing parking inventory and promote parking availability within downtown.



POLICY Create a new Public/Private Organization, with broad-based community membership, to serve as an advocate and implementer for economic development initiatives in the Emmitsburg area. Establish clear channels of communication to continue to ensure and expand cooperative participation of citizens, private businesses, institutions, and government in economic development efforts.

POLICY Adopt strategies that create local job opportunities by attracting new businesses, and encourage new business start-ups.

POLICY Contract to complete a Targeted Business Analysis from a highly qualified economic consultant which will identify strong economic sectors given the prevailing market factors for Emmitsburg.

POLICY Develop incentive packages to entice targeted businesses from identified strong business sectors to Emmitsburg.

POLICY Focus on increasing the number of jobs available in economic sectors in which (A) Emmitsburg has a comparative advantage and (B) where average wages are above the prevailing average wage rates.

POLICY Create conditions that allow, and programs that affect, the expansion of employment and the entrepreneurial opportunities for Emmitsburg residents.


POLICY Adopt and implement the Main Street Approach for the Main Street and Seton Avenue commercial areas as advocated by the National Trust For Historic Preservation National Main Street Program.

POLICY Create a fully operational and locally accountable Public/Private Organization, with broad-based community membership, that represents all the sectors of the downtown business community and has a staff person and an adequate resource base to promote downtown businesses.

POLICY Enhance the visual quality of downtown, to improve the appearance of privately-owned buildings, storefronts, and signs, as well as public improvements that are designed to complement renewed economic activity.

POLICY Establish a local economic development effort which increases local knowledge about downtown and that has the capacity to conduct downtown development and promotional activities.

POLICY Develop a comprehensive program to promote downtown as a Unified Marketplace through special events, community events, retail and restaurant promotions and marketing and physical improvements that attract customers to the downtown stores and businesses.


POLICY The Town should designate a representative who will fully participate in Frederick County economic development efforts and who will establish on-going linkages with other nearby regional economic development organization, including Adams County-Gettysburg.

POLICY Establish regular business recruitment events with formal presentations and tours of the business development areas and the downtown commercial core.

POLICY Expand the current Internet Home Page to market Emmitsburg worldwide and sell web links to local businesses to fund web page development and maintenance.

Chapter 1: Introduction
Chapter 2: The 1974 Comprehensive Plan for Emmitsburg
Chapter 3: Demographic Element
Chapter 4: Land Use Element
Chapter 5: Transportation Element
Chapter 6: Housing
Chapter 7: Economic Development and Renewal
Chapter 8: Community Design Element
Chapter 9: Community Facilities
Chapter 10: Environment and Sensitive Areas
Chapter 11: Implementation Strategies