Governor Martin O’Malley Announces 'Smart Sites' Encouraging Community Investment
CAMBRIDGE, MD (June 28, 2009) - Governor Martin O’Malley today announced the designation of 15 “Smart Site” projects located in communities around the State and invited nominations for future rounds. Smart Sites will focus public and private investment and green building practices in projects that will encourage smart growth and revitalization in existing Maryland communities. The first round of projects includes new workforce housing in a Harford County community near transit and Aberdeen Proving Grounds, the revitalization of a historic downtown Main Street in Carroll County as part of its recovery from a damaging fire, and a range of transit-oriented developments. The Governor’s announcement came after a walking tour of local development projects in downtown Cambridge.
“Focusing investment in Maryland’s great neighborhoods and existing communities is critical to achieving smarter growth in our State,” Governor O’Malley said on Sunday in Cambridge, announcing the Smart Site designations and the funding for Cambridge’s Smart Site project, the Green Workforce Housing Initiative. “Even in difficult economic times, and perhaps most especially, it is important that we and our local partners focus on the best projects that can revitalize business districts, enhance transit hubs and encourage private investment in those communities that need it the most.”
The Smart Sites initiative highlights innovative State and local partnerships that catalyze economic development in appropriate areas throughout Maryland. The Smart Sites serve as one element of the O’Malley-Brown Administration’s Smart, Green, and Growing initiative which aims to create a more sustainable future for Maryland by involving every citizen in reducing our carbon footprint, preserving our most valuable resource lands and restoring the health of the Chesapeake Bay.
The Smart Sites initiative in Cambridge will bring a comprehensive approach to investing in workforce housing and neighborhood revitalization. New housing investment in Cambridge’s Maple Street area will include green approaches to rehabilitating and energy conservation retrofitting of homes for low- and moderate-income households as well as the building new Green homes for affordable homeownership. The new Green homes will be some of the first on the Eastern Shore for low- and moderate-income household and a partnership with the Talbot/Dorchester Habitat for Humanity.
“It’s an honor to welcome Governor O’Malley to Cambridge for this exciting announcement,” said Cambridge Mayor Victoria Jackson-Stanley. “The Smart Sites designation is a testament to the commitment of Cambridge citizens to improving conditions throughout the City. Focusing investment in these areas, particularly with an ecologically friendly approach to development, truly illustrates the value of good working relationships on the local, county, and state levels.”
The Governor announces the first round of Smart Sites, and invited subsequent rounds to be nominated by local municipal and county governments as well as State agencies. While the size of Smart Site projects may vary, they will all:
- Strengthen public and private partnerships at the local level that leverage substantial private investment in appropriate growth and revitalization areas.
- Educate about the range of exemplary growth and revitalization projects and partnerships in progress in communities throughout Maryland.
- Coordinate State, local and private investment in high impact projects in targeted areas, including BRAC zones, Transit-Oriented Development sites, Main Streets and Community Legacy areas.
Nomination of projects and partnerships that include green building practices and promote growth and revitalization in appropriate areas will be encouraged, including:
- Redevelopment of key historic properties in Main Street communities, the State’s traditional business districts in small towns and cities.
- Mixed-use Transit-Oriented Development that benefits surrounding communities and encourages transit ridership.
- Innovative school construction and rehab projects in existing communities.
- Projects that increase workforce housing near job centers and desirable schools, including areas benefiting from BRAC-induced growth.
“Even in this challenging economic situation, we are able to join other public and private stakeholders to enhance the quality of life in neighborhoods and town centers all over Maryland,” said Housing and Community Development Secretary Raymond A. Skinner. “The Smart Sites initiative shows our commitment to investing in the economic sustainability and vitality of Maryland’s communities”.
The O’Malley-Brown Administration has championed initiatives that help build healthy communities and promote smart development practices statewide. For example, created in 1998, Main Street Maryland is a comprehensive downtown revitalization program that is recognized nationally as a model for Smart Growth. The program strengthens the economic potential of Maryland's traditional main streets and neighborhoods. Using a competitive process, MSM selects communities which have made a commitment to revitalization, and helps them increase private-sector small business investment, and improve the appearance and image of their core business districts. The Maple Street initiative encourages residential revitalization projects near the business district that strengthen the relationship between downtown commercial districts and the surrounding neighborhoods. Last year, Cambridge was among four locations to receive Maple Street funding.
The Governor’s Smart Site designations announced today are attached and at www.green.maryland.gov/smartsites.html.