It tells the story of the city’s past 300 years.
Frederick, Md (KM) A local, award-winning television production company is putting together a documentary on the city of Frederick. Russ Hodge, the President and Executive Producer of 3Roads Communications, Inc., says the idea began with a conservation he had several years. He says he was impressed with how downtown Frederick managed to recover after many businesses abandoned the area for the shopping malls and other locations. “Talked to Richard Griffin 20 years ago and said to him ‘you know, there’s really a documentary in this because there are a million small towns and cities throughout American that really hit hard times, and Frederick seems to have found the prescription for alleviating the troubles,'” he said
Richard Griffin is the Director of Economic Development for the City of Frederick.
Hodge says his idea was revived when 3Roads was doing a documentary in Hagerstown called “The House of Jonathan Street.” He said the house was damaged after it was struck by a police car. The City of Hagerstown was planning to tear it down, but Hodge says it was discovered that home was associated with Jonathan Hager, the founder of the city.
As a hook to draw viewers in, Hodge says this upcoming video will depict how the city of Frederick made a come back following two floods which ravaged the municipality: one in 1972, and the other in 1976. “We start out with the floods, but even what was happening to downtown Frederick before that which was very typical of a lot of towns and small cities across the America. A lot of the businesses had moved out to the malls and the outside, and the downtown was dead.” he says.
He says efforts were made to revitalize the downtown prior to that, but then the floods came. Hodge noted that after one of the floods, businesses that wanted to remain in the downtown couldn’t get insurance.
What eventually happened was the city built the Carroll Creek Flood Control Project which diverted the creek to conduits during heavy precipitation. During the heavy rains of 2018, the project worked in that much of the floodwaters remained at Baker Park.
This project resulted in the Carroll Creek Linear Park where a number of businesses have set up shop, and that helped revitalized downtown Frederick.
Hodge says this documentary, which is expected to be aired over the Public Broadcasting System, can serve as a primer for cities and towns which have hit hard times. “As kind of guide on here are the steps you need to take both concrete steps and other steps in terms of getting the community together to keep pushing and keep pushing and keep pushing,” he says.
“We have done about two dozen interviews so far with a lot of people who were very instrumental in the progression of Frederick: the Ron Youngs, the Burt Andersons, the Don Lintons, and a lot of people. We’ve interviewed Jim Hall and Joy Hall from the All Saints area,” he says. Hodge hopes to have 50 interviews for the entire program.
Production on the documentary, which has a working title of “InSpired,” is expected to wrap up in 2024, and be released in 2025.
“It’s a love letter to Frederick from somebody who wasn’t born here, but who has spent a considerable amount of time here,” Hodge says. “And can see the beauty of it probably in the way that only somebody from the outside can.”
By Kevin McManus