The state of Frederick County is strong, vibrant and on the move, County Executive Jan Gardner said during her annual State of the County Address today. She shared a video highlighting accomplishments of the past year and unveiled the Livable Frederick Implementation Program, which will guide the county’s initiatives in the coming year.
“Livable Frederick lays the foundation for our bright future so we can make life better for the people who call Frederick home,” Executive Gardner said. “We’ve embraced our rich history, invested in our people and places, and taken care of our citizens. We are leading the way with innovation and excellence. Frederick County is soaring to new heights!”
A few key accomplishments include:
- Welcoming Kite Pharma’s move to Urbana, with hundreds of new jobs projected.
- Accelerating school construction: Building has begun on a new Urbana Elementary School and a new Rock Creek School, and plans are underway for Blue Heron Elementary School, Waverley Elementary School, and an addition to Oakdale Middle School.
- Powering up a solar array at the landfill that now provides power to seven county buildings, including charging stations for TransIT’s growing fleet of electric buses.
Excellent financial management and AAA bond ratings allowed the county to build a new Othello Regional Park in Brunswick, an expanded Utica District Park, a library in Myersville, and a major transportation project near New Market, all without raising taxes.
Executive Gardner also unveiled numerous initiatives and announcements for the coming year:
- Livable Frederick Implementation Program – Public processes will begin soon for two small area plans: a Sugarloaf Mountain Treasured Landscape management plan to preserve the area’s natural and scenic beauty and a plan along the county’s primary business corridor of MD 85/355 to ensure economic resilience and sustainability.
- Broadband Feasibility Study — A feasibility study will look at how to bring high-speed Internet to underserved areas of the county. Access to broadband is fundamental to education and economic development.
- Detox Center – 18 medically supervised beds will be available at the Mountain Manor facility in Emmitsburg by Jan. 1, 2020. Another 28 beds will be available at the newly named “Mountain Manner at Marcies Choice” location by December of 2020.
- Sustainability – Frederick County has been named the 2019 Chesapeake Forest Champion by the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay and the U.S. Forest Service. The award, which will be presented on Nov. 15, recognizes efforts to replenish forest cover. In addition, a new proposal to strengthen the county’s Forest Resource Ordinance will be introduced in the coming weeks.
- Second Solar Array – Next month, the county will power up a solar array adjacent to the Ballenger-McKinney Waste Water Treatment Plant. The array will provide back-up power for the facility.
- Expansion of Electric Bus Fleet – TransIT’s new all-electric bus goes into service in the next few weeks and more will be delivered next spring. The buses are 100% powered by renewable energy.
- Agriculture Initiatives – A value-added agricultural workgroup will evaluate next steps to help farmers process local products through a co-op or collaboration. The county also will look to accelerate agriculture land preservation to ensure a legacy of agriculture for future generations.
- Bookmobile – A new bookmobile stop is being established in the neighborhood of Waverley Elementary School. A kick-off celebration is planned for Nov. 5.
- Senior and Workforce Housing – The county is actively looking for land that can be used to provide senior and workforce housing.