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Thurmont Main Street Update

Sarah Harrington

(6/1) Over the last year the town of Thurmont has been working on renovations on their town square. On May 5th Mike Hobbs, a member of the Board of Directors for the project, updated Mayor Kinnaird and the Commissioners on the progress made so far. Hobbs told the Mayor and Commissioners that he felt that the renovations were on the right path.

The main focus of the project the past year has been getting the Main Street Center up and running. The furniture for the center is coming in piece by piece. Hobbs reports that they received a few pieces of furniture the week before the 5th and were waiting on just a few other pieces. While waiting on those items, the Board of Directors have been concentrating on the development of the center in hopes that it may be used for a variety of things, such as an art gallery, a meeting place for organizations and businesses, and an event center. As of May 5th there is already a list of organizations and people who are interested in renting the center on a regular basis. That list includes a local artist whom Hobbs did not name but has already sat down with the board and discussed the rental details.

The center will be will be available to rent for a small fee. The Board is not only renting out the space inside of the center, they will also be renting out the front window to use for promoting. Local businesses will have the chance to use the window to get their name and business seen by Thurmont residents and visitors. Hobbs notes that one of the main goals of the center is to support local businesses. Hobbs reports, "We want to keep as much foot traffic in Downtown as possible".

The center is not only for businesses. The board is also trying to make the center inviting to residents as well. Hobbs and his fellow board members created a project packet for the mayor and commissioners containing a layout of the town center. The layout featured a "Media Area" in the back of the center. According to Hobbs this area will include Wi-Fi, computers, and TVís that are open to the public. The layout, which was greatly favored by the Mayor and Commissioners, also featured a Welcome Center. When visitors proceed through the entrance they will walk into the Welcome Center where they may find pamphlets with town facts and history, information on local businesses, and possibly souvenirs. The details are still in the works.

As of May 5th many of the centerís details including the centerís schedule, staffing, and funding are still under deliberation. Hobbs discussed the funding request at the meeting on the 5th. The board is estimating that they will need $15,000 dollars to fund the renovations. This is a rough estimate as Hobbs told the Mayor and Commissioners. The bills for the renovations have not all come in yet. The funds already received have been coming from fundraising, one being the charging that took place for parking at the Colorfest. There was not much discussion on the funding request, it is still under deliberation. This is something the board agrees is not something they need to rush however they agree they would like to finish promptly. Hobbs admits that the board recognizes it does not need to be finished this year.

As work continues on the renovations the first event at the center has been scheduled. There will be an open house for Main Street Businesses in June. After that the board is planning to have an open house for the town and businesses to show them what they want to do and what they are trying to accomplish. The center is just the first step. Hobbs says the next goal will be filling the empty store fronts downtown. With all of these renovations the town hopes to generate more tourism and foot traffic in the area.

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