Interagency Workgroups Share the Benefits of Three Years of Regional Coordination

Planning in Progress

by Joseph Griffiths, AICP, local Assistance and Training Manager

In March 2019, staff representatives for every Maryland state agency on the Commerce Subcabinet (Subcabinet) met in Lanham to discuss a new initiative titled Regional Resources. The Subcabinet established interagency staff teams representing five regions (Eastern Shore, Baltimore Metro, Southern Maryland, Western Maryland, and Washington Metro) to collaborate in business and community development across the state.

Fig. 1 – Screenshot showing Maryland Regional Resources home page.

The regional teams meet monthly, frequently inviting guest speakers from statewide economic development associations and regional organizations to join the collaboration. The teams also submit bi-monthly reports to the Subcabinet and coordinate on targeted projects. Additionally, staff from the Maryland Departments of Commerce (Commerce) and the Maryland Department of Planning (Planning) organized a collaborative work and reporting structure for the new Regional Resources Workgroup and developed a program website.

The regional teams navigated many challenges that arose over the past three years, specifically the threats posed by the crisis of pandemic and the opportunities presented by pandemic recovery. Team leaders incorporated new members in response to state agency and Subcabinet requests and successfully leveraged interagency collaboration to address priority projects.

Through it all, the workgroup to the challenge of Governor Hogan’s Customer Service Promise and advanced objectives outlined in A Better Maryland to “respect regional distinctions” and “improve collaboration and coordination among state agencies.”

Perhaps most importantly over these past three years, the teams established cross-agency professional relationships in support of Maryland’s communities and the work of their own agencies. At the October 4, 2022, Subcabinet meeting, the regional teams offered testimonials, compiled in the video linked below. Here, they express the importance of the Regional Resource initiative in their own words.

To learn more about the Regional Resources Workgroup, please contact Joe Griffiths, Local Assistance and Training Manager for the Maryland Department of Planning, at joseph.griffiths@maryland.gov

Governor Hogan Announces New $50 Million Rural Maryland Economic Development Fund

In Case You Missed it

by Kristen E. Humphrey, MLA, Local Assistance and Training Planner

Figure 1 – Photo of Maryland rural/farming landscape, Maryland Department of Planning.

Governor Larry Hogan announced in February that $50 million in grant funds will be made available to boost economic development activity, stimulate private sector investment, and grow jobs in the state’s rural regions. Five rural regional councils, representing the Upper, Mid and Lower Eastern Shore, Southern Maryland, and Western Maryland, will submit proposals to the Maryland Department of Commerce (Commerce) outlining how they plan to use up to $10 million available through the Rural Maryland Economic Development Fund.

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The Maryland Department of Commerce Seeks Your Input on Renewable Energy Projects and Maryland Military Installations

Planning in Progress

As part of the Maryland Renewable Energy Compatible Siting Project, described in the February 18, 2021 Planning Practice Monthly, the Maryland Department of Commerce has distributed a survey to guage  support for initiatives, policies, and processes that could facilitate the compatible siting of renewable energy facilities with Maryland’s military installations. The department is seeking responses to the brief survey by August 20.