Popup Stores Increase Retail Options in Hagerstown’s City Center, Part 1

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Local leaders interested in filling vacant storefronts in historic downtowns and older commercial districts – to increase community livability and stimulate economic growth – might consider cultivating locally owned businesses.

Throughout the country, local governments, business improvement districts and Main Street organizations are experimenting with ways to bring retail into older commercial districts with less of an upfront commitment from small business owners. Their tools: retail business incubators and pop-up stores. Pop-up stores use vacant building space for a day, a week, or even longer, but on a temporary basis; they bring foot traffic to the commercial district and can help business owners test the market prior to making a long-term commitment. More

The Two Sisters’ Houses: A tangible link to Baltimore’s African American labor history

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Originally posted on Our History, Our Heritage:

By Tyler Anthony Smith

The author graduated from Warren Wilson College with a bachelor’s degree in history and studio art in 2010.  He is currently pursuing a master’s degree in Historic Preservation from the University of Maryland College Park and working for Dell Corporation as an Assistant Preservation Technician.  He can be reached at tyleranthonysmith@gmail.com.

The "Two Sisters Houses" at 612-614 S. Wolfe Street in Fell's Point The “Two Sisters Houses” at 612-614 S. Wolfe Street in Fell’s Point

Have you ever noticed two small, 218-year-old, wood-sided houses on South Wolfe Street in Baltimore’s Fell’s Point?  The Society for the Preservation of Federal Hill and Fell’s Point owns these buildings, often referred to as the “Two Sisters,” which likely date to 1797 – the same year that the U.S. Frigate Constellation was built in a Fell’s Point ship yard. Originally part of a building with four identical units, the remaining ”Two Sisters” each stand just twelve feet wide and fifteen feet deep, with…

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The Maryland Chapter American Planning Association: Advancing the Art and Science of Planning Throughout Maryland

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Chapter LogoThe Maryland Chapter of the American Planning Association (MD APA) is a nonprofit organization of planning professionals from all regions of Maryland. Most are members of the American Planning Association (APA). As one of 47 state chapters, MD APA supports the mission of the American Planning Association (APA) advocating excellence in community planning, and addresses economic, environmental and social equity issues at national and international levels.

For many decades, Maryland has been a national leader in planning in the U.S. From Baltimore County’s “Plan for the Valleys” to the Montgomery County Agricultural Reserve and Transfer of Development Rights programs to the 1997 Smart Growth and Neighborhood Conservation Act, Maryland has led the nation in the development of innovative local and state plans and zoning concepts. That work has addressed major issues from land preservation and environmental quality to sustainable community development.

MD-APA Board MeetingThe MD APA seeks to build on Maryland’s long and unique planning legacy as municipalities, counties and regions seek to revitalize communities, enhance the environment and develop sustainable approaches to the emerging planning and development issues in the 21st century.

Representing approximately 600 public and private planning professionals, educators, students, and local officials and planning commissioners, the MD APA aims to provide the vision and leadership that fosters better planning in Maryland through its network of practicing planners, citizens and elected officials committed to urban, suburban, regional and rural planning.

Under the leadership of current President Jacquelyn Magness Seneschal, AICP, the MD APA is focusing on networking and professional development to inspire and foster leadership and professional development in Maryland’s planning community. The chapter seeks to create opportunities for involvement and advancement for both new and experienced planning professionals while advancing the art and science of public and private sector planning. To accomplish this the chapter offers members professional development, information services, employment opportunities, networking and educational opportunities.

The chapter also fosters communication among planners and with local and state governments. MD APA works closely with neighboring chapters to offer a biannual regional planning conference, professional certification and advancement, educational workshops, walking tours, a quarterly newsletter, online educational forums, a website and legislative monitoring.

Touring SitesProfessional development for public and private sector planners is a central function of the MD APA. This involves advising prospective members of the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) about the qualifications, purpose and programs of the AICP, and the AICP Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct. The chapter offers continuing education and professional development and assists members who are preparing to take the AICP examination. Additionally, MD APA advises and promotes membership in the Fellows of the American Institute of Certified Planners.  The Maryland chapter was one of the founding members of the Planning Webcast Series, which offers members the opportunity to learn about current planning issues and receive CM credits. This is a way that planners throughout the state can keep current on issues without incurring cost.

MD APA hosts regional Local Government Exchanges (LGEs) — day-long events for planners in different areas of the state to share their planning and conservation successes, discuss a range of planning initiatives  and learn from other professionals about techniques and advances within the field.  The LGEs are usually focused on interaction and sharing between planners, local officials, planning commissioners and educators, not solely on presentations.

To provide additional education opportunities to members, MD APA initiated a monthly activities schedule covering a range of events of interest to the chapter’s diverse membership. In August, MD APA launched a Planning Speaker Series with ‘Film in Maryland’ that included as panelists the directors of the Maryland and Baltimore Film Offices. The discussion focused on the economic benefits of film credit programs and how counties and municipalities were reaping economic benefits from locally filmed television shows and movies.

In the fieldsThe speaker series continued in November with a tour of Real Food Farm, an urban farm in Baltimore City, where participants heard about the progress of urban agriculture. This was followed by a tour of the University of Baltimore Angelos Law Center, a certified LEED Platinum building, which included a presentation on the differences between green building codes, standards and rating systems and changes to local green building laws and regulations.  The chapter’s 2014 Annual Meeting included discussions of ‘Maximize 2040,’ the long range transportation plan for the Baltimore Region and a presentation on the Reinvest Maryland initiative by the Maryland Department of Planning.

The chapter is an Associate Society member of the Engineering Society of Baltimore. In addition to providing the chapter with access to the facilities and food service offered at the Garrett-Jacobs Mansion in Baltimore’s Mount Vernon district, MD APA members can join the Engineers Club with no initiation fee and at a reduced cost.

Jacqui Seneschal, AICP, Chapter President

Jacqui Seneschal, AICP, Chapter President

The Maryland Chapter is moving ahead with new opportunities and activities for 2015. Educational events planned for this year include a tour of a local casino and discussion of the economic benefits and social impacts for the community and region; a tour of the Bethesda Green incubator space; a tour and discussion of emerging bike share opportunities in Maryland communities and a tour by Habitat for the Chesapeake of significant Maryland environmental sites.

The MD APA welcomes new planners as well as associates from related professions and citizen planning professionals.  For additional information on MD APA including events and how to become involved, take a look at the following chapter online resources:

MD APA website ♦ MD APA Facebook ♦ MD APA Twitter ♦ Chapter Newsletters

reblog: See the Bay: Poplar Island

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Megan Garrett, tour coordinator of the Maryland Environmental Service talks about the project.

Reprinted with permission from the January 2, 2015 issue of the SpinSheet magazine.

It used to be that anything good for commerce always came at the expense of the natural environment or public opinion. Poplar Island, rising out of the shallows hard by Tilghman Island on Maryland’s Eastern Shore with Bay channel dredge material, is emerging as a clear win for all and gaining global recognition as an international model of doing it right.

Competing Interests

The Port of Baltimore is enjoying unprecedented resurgence, and business is booming with record numbers, ranking in 2013 14th in volume and ninth in value and first in RO/RO (roll on/roll off) of cars, light trucks, and machinery. Officials are confident that the port will be ready for deep-draft, post-Panamax ships that will start to arrive after the expanded Panama Canal opens in 2016. New cranes are in place and operational. Rail investments ashore are in the works, and a new ship pier just opened in Fairfield to handle yet more RO/RO cargo. More

reblog: Governor O’Malley Honors Harriet Tubman with Bust at Government House

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January 6th, 2015

ANNAPOLIS, MD – Yesterday evening, Governor Martin O’Malley joined state officials and dignitaries at Government House to unveil a bronze bust of Harriet Tubman — the first bust of an African American to be displayed in the Governor’s residence in Annapolis, Maryland.
Joining Governor O’Malley for the ceremony were First Lady Katie O’Malley, descendants of Harriet Tubman, …more

Recognizing Albert L. Feldstein’s 42 years of public service

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fedlstein1 On December 31, 2014, MDP employee Al Feldstein retired after 37 years service to the state of Maryland and his beloved Western Maryland.

From U.S. Senator Ben Cardin – December 04, 2014

Mr. President, I wish to recognize an outstanding public servant of Western Maryland, Al Feldstein, who will be retiring at the end of this year after 42 years of public service. As Appalachian Regional Commission, ARC, State Program Manager for Maryland, Al has played a critical role in the success of countless projects and initiatives aimed at advancing economic progress and improving the lives of the residents of Maryland’s three Appalachian counties. His passion for his community is boundless, and his careful stewardship of public resources has consistently set a high standard to which we can–and should–all aspire. More

A Fond Farewell to J. Rodney Little

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Originally posted on Our History, Our Heritage:

J. Rodney Little J. Rodney Little

By MHT Staff

This month, we will bid a fond farewell to J. Rodney Little, our fearless leader for almost 40 years. Early in his tenure as State Historic Preservation Officer, Rodney broadened the Maryland Historical Trust’s mission to address the needs of history museums and intangible cultural resources – undertakings that would establish the agency as a model State program.

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