Meet the Planning Staff: David Cotton

Meet the Planning Staff

David Cotton may not be new to Planning, but we are pleased to feature him in this month’s Planning Practice newsletter as a means to celebrate his many accomplishments. Having served as regional planner for the past 20 years, Dave became Director of the Western Maryland regional office in October. Most recently, Dave stepped into an exciting new role as State Program Manager for the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC). Established by an act of Congress in 1965, ARC is a regional economic development agency that represents a partnership of federal, state, and local government (See the related article on the ARC). Continue reading

Sustainable Communities: An Intergovernmental Collaboration

Planning Assistance in Action

As part of a larger effort to decrease the amount of vacant and underutilized space within its downtown, in 2014 one Maryland municipality implemented a Central Business District Façade Program. This program, combined with enhanced marketing, a small business outreach program, and design funding from the Appalachian Regional Commission, led to improvements in the appeal, marketability, and aesthetics of a historic downtown and prompted new commercial lease signings. Another Maryland community leveraged over $800,000 in targeted state financing assistance to acquire and demolish eight blighted buildings and remediate hazardous material in a ninth. The dedicated collaboration of jurisdictions, the Maryland Department of Planning (Planning), and the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) realized these stories of community revitalization success through the application of Maryland’s Sustainable Communities Program. Continue reading

The Maryland Department of Planning Teams up with the Appalachian Regional Commission

Planning Assistance in Action

ARCFor most Maryland residents, access to a reliable broadband network is a given; a bill we pay every month, but a readily available service when we need to connect to our work email, search for a new restaurant, or find driving directions. For some parts of Western Maryland though, this is not always so certain, as the secluded location and rugged geography make the extension of network infrastructure expensive and difficult. The Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC), in partnership with the Maryland Department of Planning (Planning) and the Allegany Board of Commissioners, helped overcome this barrier in Allegany County by providing the funding to strengthen the area’s broadband network and improve services to residents, businesses, and emergency services. Continue reading