View of downtown Hancock, MD. Photo from Wikipedia.

Maryland Department of Housing and Community Developmen​t Designates Four New Sustainable Communities

07/08/2020
By Elly Colmers Cowan

Earlier this summer, the State of Maryland designated four new Sustainable Communities. This revitalization program provides local governments with a toolbox of state resources to support everything from bricks-and-mortar projects to tourism and now includes 121 designated communities across the state.

Since 2010, the Department of Housing and Community Development’s Sustainable Communities program has worked to support comprehensive strategies for development and revitalization and promote the efficient use of State resources throughout Maryland. A true smart growth program, it strengthens existing communities by targeting resources to encourage public and private investments and partnerships for historic preservation, housing, and economic development.

According to the press release, the four new Sustainable Communities include:

Image of Historic Marker reading "Fruitland"

Photo from The Historic Marker Database.

City of Fruitland
Wicomico County

Located southeast of Salisbury, Fruitland began developing as a crossroads village and became known as Forktown in the early 1800s. Due to its large and varied agriculture, the name of the developing town was changed to Fruitland, and the City was incorporated in 1947. As a Sustainable Community, Fruitland hopes to maintain its small-town roots while building on its strengths as a growing community including a variety of retail opportunities and proximity to the assets of the University of Maryland Eastern Shore. Key Sustainable Community goals include creating more park and recreational opportunities for residents, streetscape and façade improvements to support downtown revitalization, and improving pedestrian connections and access to downtown.

Town of Hancock
Washington County

Hancock is one of Maryland’s oldest settlements, incorporated in 1853, and is also a designated Main Street Maryland community, a state Arts and Entertainment District, and a federal Opportunity Zone. Hancock’s goals include promoting tourism on the Western Maryland Trail, implementing strategies to promote business expansion, creating an attractive gateway for the town, and improving downtown signage. Proposed infrastructure improvements include stormwater retrofits, rehabilitation or demolition of vacant buildings, as well as streetscape and pedestrian improvements.

Town of Hillsboro
Caroline County

Hillsboro was incorporated in 1853 and is one of Caroline County’s oldest municipalities. The Town has varied natural and cultural attractions including Tuckahoe State Park, a Civil War Trail, and the Town Hall building, which is the area’s old schoolhouse. The town’s key Sustainable Community goals include main street façade improvements, improving sidewalk conditions, the revitalization of the Town Hall building, and improving stormwater drainage on Church Street.

Town of Willards
Wicomico County

Incorporated in 1906, the Town of Willards has a total population of just under 1,000 and currently benefits from participation in the Town Manager Circuit Rider Program. The town’s Sustainable Communities goals include streetscape improvements on Main Street, improvements to public park and recreational facilities, launching a commercial façade improvement program, and promoting tax credits to support both the expansion of existing businesses and new business development.

Learn more about the Sustainable Communities Program

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Elly Colmers Cowan · Director of Advocacy

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