Creating Homeowners, Preserving Neighborhoods in Maryland

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Becoming a Main Street Maryland Community Just Got Easier! Program Now Taking Applications Year-Round



Cumberland, Md., one of the first Main Street Maryland communities

CROWNSVILLE, MD – Cities and towns throughout the state may now apply year-round for the downtown revitalization opportunities available through the nationally recognized Main Street Maryland program.

Secretary Skinner announced that the department’s Main Street Maryland program will now accept applications from cities and towns on a rolling basis throughout the year.  Previously applications for designation as a Main Street Maryland community were accepted every two to three years.

Created in 1998, Main Street Maryland is a comprehensive downtown revitalization program that is recognized nationally as a model for Smart Growth.  The program strengthens the economic potential of Maryland’s traditional main streets and neighborhoods.  Using a competitive process, Main Street Maryland selects communities which have made a commitment to revitalization, and helps them increase private-sector small business investment, and improve the appearance and image of their core business districts.  Through the program, DHCD has designated 26 communities in 17 counties,  resulting in the opening of 1,663 new businesses and the creation of 6,666 new jobs.  Continue reading

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The Power of Neighborhoods: Speaker Busch, Secretary Skinner, Announce New Community Development Grants

Grants Will Help Local Organizations Demonstrate Innovative Strategies to Revitalize Older Neighborhoods in the Baltimore Region



Secretary Skinner and Maryland Speaker of the House Michael Busch announce new community development grants.

Baltimore – Four nonprofit organizations will receive grants totaling $3.75 million through the new Baltimore Regional Neighborhoods Initiative, a demonstration project designed to help attract new investment to the region’s traditional older neighborhoods.  Targeted neighborhoods have developed comprehensive strategies for new housing and commercial investment.

House Speaker Michael E. Busch joined Secretary Raymond Skinner Monday to announce the grants that were established during the legislative session. “These grants support innovative and forward-thinking approaches to neighborhood revitalization in Baltimore City and Baltimore County that other communities across the region and our state can emulate,” said Speaker Busch. “A strong region needs strong neighborhoods.”

“The health of every neighborhood, adds up to the health of the region,” added Secretary Skinner, “and these grants will demonstrate the power of investing in existing historic communities with strong community networks.” Continue reading

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Talk About Smart! Baltimore County Officials Cut Ribbon on Shared Space for Two High Schools, a Md. Smart Site Project



Dundalk, MD – Over 100 students, faculty and staff, Board of Education members, community stakeholders, and government representatives attended a ribbon cutting event at Dundalk Sollers Point Technical High Schools on Oct. 1, to officially open the new shared building.

The almost $100 million project houses Dundalk High School, serving southeast Baltimore County students, and the regional magnet Sollers Point Technical High School. The schools feature a shared atrium, gymnasium and 500-seat auditorium, with specialty learning space including state-of-the-art media center, science laboratories, culinary arts kitchen, cosmetology facility, and automotive and construction departments. Continue reading

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Housing Conference News: Secretary Skinner Discusses Governor’s Housing Conference, Other Housing-Related Issues on WBAL’s “11 TV Hill”



Baltimore – Secretary Skinner discussed the state’s foreclosure picture, the improving housing market and the upcoming 2013 Governor’s Housing Conference with WBAL-TV’s Lisa Robinson during a taping Wednesday of the public affairs program “11 TV Hill.”

The program airs Sunday at 11 a.m., right after Meet the Press.

The discussion provides a preview of issues that will be explored at length during the Sept. 27 conference, the largest and most comprehensive forum on affordable housing issues in Maryland, bringing together housing advocates, community development leaders, homebuilders, lenders and lawmakers. To learn more about the conference, including how to register, click here.

This year’s conference features an all-star roster of speakers, including Governor Martin O’Malley, Lt. Governor Anthony Brown, Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and keynote speaker Henry Cisneros, co-chair of the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Housing Commission. Also, Dr. Daraius Irani, director of the Regional Economics Studies Institute at Towson University, will provide an overview on Maryland’s economic outlook and a lawmakers’ roundtable including Seventh District Congressman Elijah Cummings and Fourth District Congresswoman Donna Edwards will provide a national perspective.

The daylong conference underscores the importance of housing to Maryland’s economic vitality, community development and the quality of life for working families, senior citizens and individuals with special needs.

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Walking Tour of Main Street Maryland Communities in Elkton and Havre de Grace Reveals Revitalization Plans in Action



Elkton, MD – The $2.6 million renovation of a historic opera house in downtown Havre de Grace and arts and crafts shops in downtown Elkton were among the sites that Secretary Skinner visited Tuesday during a walking tour of neighborhood revitalization projects in the northeastern part of the state.

Both towns are designated Main Street Maryland communities, making them eligible for targeted resources under the state’s initiative to help strengthen the economic potential of Maryland’s traditional main streets and neighborhoods. Secretary Skinner also has toured projects in western Maryland and the Eastern Shore. Continue reading

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Vote Early, Vote Often: Three Main Street Maryland Communities Competing in “Paint What Matters” Contest


Main-Street-Takoma-Pk-pic-1Crownsville, MD – Three Main Street Maryland communities are competing in Benjamin Moore’s “Paint What Matters” campaign, the New Jersey company’s nationwide initiative to help revitalize communities.

The Main Street Maryland communities of Cambridge, Sykesville and Takoma Park could receive a complete repainting of facades, porches, railings, shutters and other exterior building trims courtesy of Benjamin Moore and the company’s color experts will be on hand to consult on the best choices to enhance the architectural style, regional influences and history of each winning community. A fourth Maryland community, Ellicott City, also is competing in the contest.

Main-Street-High-Street-SpringThe campaign asks consumers around the country to cast their vote online for which 20 Main Streets should be revitalized of the more than 100 North American cities nominated at Continue reading

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DHCD Secretary Tours Hurricane Sandy Recovery Sites, Agrees Not to Offer Property Purchase Option for Smith Island


District-7-Crisfield-20130606-00013Crisfield, MD – Maryland’s plan to use $8.6 million in federal funds to help Somerset County recover from the effects of Hurricane Sandy will not include an option to purchase the property of Smith Island residents in deference to local opinion, Secretary Skinner announced.

On Thursday, Secretary Skinner and other DHCD staff toured areas damaged by the October storm and met with Somerset County officials, Crisfield officials and local leaders from the Somerset County Long-term Recovery Committee. The goal of the secretary’s trip was to see recovery progress first hand and get direct guidance from local leaders. Continue reading

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Maryland Continues to Refine its Plan to Help Somerset County Residents Recover from Effects of Hurricane Sandy

MAY 23

Crownsville, MD – DHCD continues  to refine its plan for use of $8.6 million in federal funds to help Somerset County residents recover from the effects of Hurricane Sandy.  The department’s draft proposal – discussed in public meetings over the past month and detailed in a May 17 blog post – had allocated $2 million for property purchases on Smith Island but DHCD agreed to limit the allocation to $1 million after receiving feedback from the public and after assessing interest in that part of the program.

The department has also agreed to limit property purchases to Smith Island residents who need to relocate due to medical needs, unsafe housing conditions or other compelling circumstances.   The state will submit its plan to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development by June 10, after first getting further comment from the public. Continue reading

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A Main Street Maryland Success Story: CNN Puts Frederick on its List of “America’s Best Small Town Comebacks”


Fun in Frederick

Frederick, MD – The historic crossroads town of Frederick, nestled in western Maryland with its fabled clustered spires, is on CNN’s list of “America’s Best Small Town Comebacks;” part of the news organization’s “Best of” series.

“Frederick is revived,” coos CNN’s March 12 story, “with a nearly chain-proof red brick commercial district lined with indie shops, destination restaurants and weekenders from D.C. and Baltimore (both an hour away) escaping here instead of the other way around.”

And for a Frederick Wow! Factor, CNN advises: “Stroll along Carroll Creek Park’s pedestrian bridges and brick pathways lined with public art and it’s hard to believe this green space was originally a flood control project.”

Frederick’s charm isn’t news to fans of the western Maryland town, of course. Continue reading


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