TANEYTOWN — It's a city waiting to be rediscovered.
The people are hard-working, the downtown area is rife with history, and outlying areas boast available industrial sites.
The rest of the world just doesn't know it -- yet. But things maychange in the next nine years.
The Taneytown 2000 committee has begun work on a plan to spruce up the downtown area and attract businesses.
"This is a swell town to have your business in," said EdwardD. Leister, a committee member and senior vice president at Taneytown Bank & Trust Co.
"This is probably one of the prettiest towns inCarroll County if it had a little work done. It's rundown now," he said.
The committee wants to help bring in new business, but its goals are broader, said Paul D. Denton, president of Maryland Midland Railway in Union Bridge.
"We want to help increase the entire quality of life in and around Taneytown," he said. "We want to put the esprit de corps back into the fabric. Taneytown has a heck of a lot to offer."
"We want to become the eyes and ears of the city," said Neal W. Powell, city manager and committee chairman.
The eight-membergroup has met several times and still is working on its mission and strategy, he said.
"There's been a lot of talk and very little action up to this point," Powell said.
The idea for an economic development group germinated at an annual breakfast for city leaders sponsored by Taneytown Bank several months ago, he said.
James C. Threatte, director of the county Office of Economic Development, offered to serve as an adviser to the group, said Eileen Shields, economic development marketing manager.
Taneytown is "small town U.S.A., and people want that," she
said. "We've had our love affair with shopping malls and strip centers, and there's a place for that. But there'salso a place for downtowns."
The city has a number of historic buildings, including one on York Street where George Washington stayed overnight in 1791, Powell said.
The city of about 3,700 has a thriving corporate community, said Shields, who surveys county businessesregularly.
"The city did farsighted planning for economic development years ahead of anyone else in Carroll County," she said.
The city's Chamber of Commerce took an active role in the 1960s in finding industrial sites and attracting business to the area, Shields said.
Evapco Inc., manufacturer of heating and cooling equipment; the Taney Corp., which makes wooden stairs and stair parts; Worthington Pump Division Dresser Inc., a pump manufacturer; and Lion Bros. Co. Inc., a sewing factory, are among the companies in the area.
The workforce is another credit to the city, Leister said.
"People here go to work when they don't feel good," he said.
Committee member James G. Sturgill, a Westminster accountant who is developing apartments and town houses in the city, said he'd like to see East Baltimore Street look more like Main Street in Emmitsburg, Frederick County, by putting phone and electrical lines underground.
"You'll have a lovely town and a credit to Carroll County. It has the potential to become a showpiece for Maryland," he said.
Emmitsburg, seven miles from Taneytown, "really catches the eye" with its old-fashioned streetlights and tidy business district, Denton said.
And, Shields said, "It doesn't hurt to have the Catoctin Mountains as a backdrop to your town."