James Rada, Jr.
Thurmont has been a Maryland Main Street Community since 2005—one of twenty-eight in Maryland, five of which are in Frederick County. What is not as well known is that Thurmont has also been a nationally recognized Main Street.
According to Main Street Manager Vickie Grinder, the Maryland Main Street program works in conjunction with the National Main Street program, operated by the Trust for Historic Preservation. The Trust sets the standard for Main Streets so that if a community is accredited at the state level, it also receives national accreditation.
Main Streets have to renew their accreditation each year, which means that Thurmont has continued to meet the standards for public outreach, programming, economic development, sustainable practices, and the creation of a business-friendly environment, annually.
According to a town press release, the highlights of Thurmont’s Main Street activity this past year include:
• The opening of the Thurmont Main Street Center at 11 Water Street, which serves as a visitor center with tourist information about Thurmont. It also serves as a venue where artists can display their work and make it available to the public. A public meeting area is available for group meetings. It is the headquarters for Christmas in Thurmont and other holiday events. The center is staffed by volunteers and open most weekends.
• Thurmont Farmers’ Market, Gallery Strolls, “Thurmont Think Pink” program, and the “Buy Local” program have all been rejuvenated.
• A recent downtown revitalization took place that included new sidewalks, new street lights, new benches, trash cans, and bicycle racks.
• Christmas in Thurmont, with photos with Santa Claus, prizes, caroling, and the lighting of the tree in Mechanicstown Square Park, continues to be a popular annual event.
• Partnerships were established with Catoctin Mountain Park, Cunningham Falls State Park, and Frederick County Office of Economic Development.
Grinder is especially pleased with the cooperation that the county Main Streets receive from the county government, including quarterly meetings with Sandy Wagerman in the Frederick County Office of Economic Development.
“The meetings allow us to work together, brainstorm and feed off each other,” Grinder said. Four of the county Main Streets (Thurmont, Mt. Airy, Brunswick, and Middletown) actually have a lot in common and something that works well in one community may work in the other communities.
For more information about what is happening with Thurmont’s Main Street, visit www.thurmontmainstreet.com.