Snow Hill Earns Main Street Affiliate Designation

Snow Hill Earns Main Street Affiliate Designation
Snow Hill

SNOW HILL – A new program is expected to help Snow Hill down the path to becoming a Main Street Maryland community.

Snow Hill has been named a Main Street Maryland Affiliate in a new program being offered by the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD). It is one of five municipalities that now have the affiliate designation.

“It’s a stepping stone toward the Main Street program,” said Michael Day, Snow Hill’s economic development consultant. “They’ve been looking for a way to include more small towns.”

While Main Street Maryland is a downtown revitalization program aimed at improving design, organization, promotion and the economy of municipalities, the affiliate program has been created for smaller communities interested in the same approach.

“It’s kind of like training wheels,” Day said.

He said the program was new this year and that he’d submitted an application for Snow Hill as soon as he heard about it. Day, who spent several years as Berlin’s economic development director, believes the program was set up after state officials saw the way Berlin merchants practiced the Main Street approach before the town actually applied for the designation.

According to the DHCD application, the affiliate program will provide towns with the principles and guidelines associated with the Main Street program.

“Following an initial site visit and assessment, Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development staff will work with the community to develop an Affiliate Action Plan that will provide information on resources the local government and stakeholders can utilize to meet their specific commercial district challenges,” the application reads.

Resources available to affiliate towns will include funding from DHCD, networking connections and access to consultants.

Day said he knew Snow Hill wasn’t ready to apply for full Main Street status but thought the affiliate program would get the town to that point.

“This is giving us the time to organize our committees, to get more of a plan,” he said. “This gives us a chance to ease into it.”

In addition with providing the town with the framework it will need to become a true Maryland Main Street community, Day expects Snow Hill’s status as an affiliate to be a point in its favor when the town applies for grants.

“This will show the state we’re serious and moving forward,” Day said.