County To Provide Funds For Economic Development Consultant

SNOW HILL – In an effort to regenerate interest in Snow Hill, the Worcester County Commissioners agreed to provide funding to support the town’s new economic development director.

On Tuesday, the commissioners voted 7-0 to give the Town of Snow Hill $5,000 in economic development funds. The money will be paired with funding from the town as well as a grant from the state to fund the work of Michael Day, the town’s new economic development consultant.

“We’re over the moon excited to have Michael Day come out of retirement to help us,” said Allison Cook, a member of the Snow Hill Town Council. “We’re excited to have him take us to the next level.”

Bill Badger, the county’s economic development director, asked the commissioners to grant the town $5,000 from his department’s budget. He said that if the county provided funding to support the town — which is the county seat — the state would be more likely to provide funding.

“The state of Maryland has a very high regard for Michael Day’s work,” Badger said.

In recent months, several downtown Snow Hill businesses have closed. Many of its buildings are in need of repair. Nevertheless, Cook said Day saw the town’s potential.

“Berlin was not always America’s coolest small town,” Cook said. “It took a long road for them to get there. We’re facing a lot of the same obstacles.”

Commissioner Chip Bertino asked if county officials would be setting a precedent for other towns to follow if they granted Snow Hill’s request for additional funding. County attorney Sonny Bloxom replied that it would be a precedent.

Commissioner Joe Mitrecic pointed out that while it might be a precedent, every town would have to come before the commissioners to seek additional funding.

“Everybody would have to come and ask and show a need,” he said. “I don’t think we’re locked in. Snow Hill is the county home I think it’s important it thrives.”

Commissioner Ted Elder agreed. He said visitors shouldn’t be greeted with dilapidated buildings and vacant shopfronts.

“Snow Hill is the county seat,” he said. “It should be the start of the whole county.”

Commissioner Bud Church was hesitant to consider the town’s request for funding until he spoke with Gee Williams, mayor of Berlin. Williams reported Day had been instrumental in the revitalization of Berlin.

“The mayor of Berlin gave high praises to Mr. Day,” he said, “and they were thrilled he’d accepted the challenge to come to Snow Hill.”