Edgewood to receive Maryland Sustainable Communities designation

Edgewood may become eligible for millions of dollars once it becomes eligible for Maryland's Sustainable Communities program, according to Tiffany Robinson of the Harford County Office of Community Development.

Robinson said the county expects to be notified in late December or early January if Edgewood will be approved for the designation, which will provide for grant and loan money for revitalization projects.

"We're constantly looking for more funding for the community," Robinson said during an Edgewood Community Council meeting Wednesday evening. "We're very confident we will get the designation. We're just waiting for it to go through."

The Maryland Sustainable Communities plan is an umbrella source of funding for revitalizing Maryland's oldest communities.

In 2010, Gov. Martin O'Malley signed into law the Sustainable Communities Act of 2010, which provides for the designation to help pay for green spaces and parks, transportation and bike plans and economic resources such as small business loans.

To be considered, communities had to have similar existing designations, been allocated resources in the past and have a need for revitalization, Robinson said.

"Most areas ask for the Sustainable Communities designation around their main street areas," Robinson said.

The scope of plans for Edgewood is a good deal broader because of the community's size, Robinson said, noting it is the largest community in Maryland being considered for the Sustainable Communities program.

The borders of the Edgewood area, for purposes of the program, include, but are not limited to, Washington Court, the MARC Train Station and Grempler Way.

Some portions of northeastern and southeastern Edgewood were not included because they are more stable, Robinson said.

"We proposed a large boundary for Edgewood because we didn't want to leave anything out," Robinson said.

Robinson said she hopes the designation will provide funding to fix roads and lighting in Edgewood. She said she believes the area could use the funding for storm water management, a Route 755 Streetscape plan, welcome signs and other upgrades.

"We hope a lot of good can come from this," Robinson said. Her agency has been working on the proposal for the past year.

Dion Guthrie, the Harford County Councilman who represents Edgewood, said it is easy for municipalities like Bel Air and Havre de Grace, which have their own municipal governments, to secure this kind of funding, but harder for unincorporated communities like Edgewood.

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