The theme was ‘Soaring to New Heights.’
Frederick, MD – Frederick County Executive Jan Gardner gave the annual State of the County Address on Friday, reviewing past initiatives and addressing future plans.
“The state of Frederick County is strong, vibrant and on the move,” Gardner said. “We know to keep soaring, we must maintain our momentum.”
Among the announcements was the launch of the Livable Frederick Implementation Program, which Gardner said would be launched in three ways: through small area and corridor plans, county divisions’ goals and budgets and community organizations.
Gardner announced future initiatives for programs like a Treasured Landscape management plan for Sugarloaf Mountain; an incoming broadband feasibility study to bring high speed Internet to under served areas, a second solar array opening next month which will power the county’s growing number of electric buses; and a new stop for the Myersville Bookmobile to be added near Waverly Elementary this November.
Gardner also discussed the economic state of the county and the launch of a small area plan for the business area of Routes 85 and 355 to the Ballenger Creek area, creating opportunities for redevelopment and following the goals for economic growth.
“In the upcoming year, we look to see some new businesses join our community and some existing businesses to expand,” Gardner said. “Our office of Economic Development has probably never been busier, and that’s a good thing.”
Gardner said the county is ensuring the preservation of agricultural areas and there are future plans to explore steps to help farmers through a co-op or collaboration to process local products.
“[We look] to maximize the future viability of our agricultural assets and ensure the legacy of agriculture for future generations.” Gardner said. “Stay tuned for that discussion,”
Gardner then announced the county is seeking to create more affordable housing and is now actively looking for land to offer and leverage for affordable senior and workforce housing. Gardner said the county will also be dedicating part of its Recordation Tax to support first-time homebuyers and the creation of work-force housing.
“Livable Frederick envisions a community that offers a meaningful and affordable housing choice for everyone,” Gardner said. “More on that in the upcoming year.”
The topic of Frederick County’s health was also discussed, with Gardner announcing the installation of 18 new medically supervised beds for patients at Mountain Manor’s detox center in Emmitsburg in January, and another 28 beds will be available at its second location the end of 2020.
“I am proud to celebrate these accomplishments,” Gardner said. “While at the same time looking forward to an even better, brighter livable Frederick.”
By Timothy Young