Jay Meashey loves Christmas and he keeps a calendar that counts down to the holiday on his desk inside the Taneytown City Hall building.
Meashey was recently named the economic development director for the city, taking over for Nancy McCormick, who served in the role for 21 years before retiring last August. The position remained vacant until Meashey filled the role on March 1.
Meashey said Christmas comes with a sense of bringing people together and it doesn’t mean someone has to be spiritual to celebrate.
“There seem to be so few things anymore that make the entire nation stop together,” Meashey said “It’s nice that Christmas makes me feel like we’re all a little more united.”
The mission of the Economic Development Department is to preserve, retain and nurture new and existing businesses for the benefit of employment and revenue for the City of Taneytown, according to the town website.
As economic development director, Meashey hopes to bring entrepreneurs and business owners together and guide them as they seek to take advantage of the city’s potential.
“Economic development is something that interests me because I think everybody understand the excitement of getting a job or the excitement of seeing a new store open to finding your favorite bakery, that sort of thing,” Meashey said. “It’s something I’m really excited to be able to do professionally.”
Meashey, a Lancaster, Pennsylvania native, worked for many years managing bars and restaurants in State College, Pennsylvania, and he volunteered with the Borough of State College on the Community Development Block Grant Citizens’ Advisory Committee as well. As chairman of the committee, he worked closely with professional staff, the committee, and community members to create presentations and site visits to grantees.
“Working with local government officials, I really got to see the role that local government can have in shaping a town or a city,” Meashey said. “That was really attractive to me.”
Meashey attended Penn State from 1999-2003, but received a Bachelor of Science degree in Urban, Community and Regional Planning from Salisbury University. He said his experience as a business manager puts him at a pivot point between a city and its business owners to help them accomplish goals to benefit the future of their endeavors.
Taneytown boasts more than 160 businesses, according to the city’s website. City officials have partnerships with McDaniel College, Carroll Community College and the Carroll County Career and Technology Center to provide training and resources for employees as well.
Meashey said he hopes to implement new event ideas designed to engage the community and encourage people to spend more time downtown to experience the city’s storefronts.
“What I want to do right now is listen,” Meashey said. “I want to hear what our current business owners think is necessary, what opportunities and what challenges they see. I want to talk to our landlords and find out what their experiences have been pre-COVID-19 and what they hope things will be list post-COVID.