Making the center of Taneytown the center of the community


July 13, 2000|By Jean Marie Beall | Jean Marie Beall,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

THE CITY OF Taneytown has become Maryland's seventh Main Street Community, joining 1,500 towns nationwide in the National Trust for Historic Preservation's 20-year-old program to revitalize downtowns.

The Main Street program was started to save downtown buildings that had been neglected because of suburban sprawl.

"But it was realized that you couldn't save downtown buildings unless you saved the downtowns," explained Cindy Stone, coordinator for the program, which is under Maryland's Department of Housing and Community Development.

Maryland is in its third year of the national nongrant program.

The program offers technical assistance, including an architect who works with property owners, Stone said. The program also offers on-site volunteer training, manager orientation and training sessions, on-site visits to help the community develop and plan and specialized training on topics specific to downtown businesses.

Linda Galvin, chairwoman of the board for the Taneytown Main Street Program, said the community became interested in the program a year ago because officials wanted to attract more businesses.

"We wanted the downtown of Taneytown to be the center of the community it once was," Galvin said.

She said board members sent a survey to residents asking what changes they would like to see downtown. Residents were enthusiastic about revitalizing downtown, she said.

"People were sending us little notes that said they remembered having an ice cream soda at the pharmacy or that they remembered the bakery on Baltimore Street and they wanted those things to come back," Galvin said.

She said the survey also asked whether residents would like to see cultural activities. Most of the respondents said they would. Residents remembered an opera house downtown. They want to see trees or shrubs along Baltimore Street. The main street was once tree-lined.

Galvin said the city has budgeted money to redo the parking lot next to City Hall. Brick will replace the asphalt, and plants will replace concrete walls around the parking lot, she said.

Nancy McCormick, Taneytown's economic development director, said she believes the town's Main Street status will have a positive economic impact.

"This whole [revitalization] is going to have a big effect," McCormick said. "The malls have served their purpose and they will serve their purpose. But people want to go back downtown again."

Vacation Bible School

Uniontown Bible Church will hold its Vacation Bible School from 6:45 p.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through July 21. The school is open to children who are entering kindergarten through entering sixth grade, said Denise Velte, who is organizing the school.

The theme is "In the Race with Jesus-Road Rally 2000."

"Ours is quite a huge thing," Velte said. "We have about 150 kids attend."

The children will act out skits each night, she said.

Information: 410-857-9644.

Jean Marie Bell's Northwest neighborhood column appears each Thursday in the Carroll County edition of The Sun.

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