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Main Attractions: Frostburg is More Than a Mountain College Town

The Western Maryland city of Frostburg has a diverse history. In its early days, the city was a coal mining town, made profitable by its choice location along the B&O Railroad and the C&O Canal. While now best known as home to Frostburg State University, the city’s rich history is still evident, especially along its Main Street.

Modern Frostburg has seamlessly melded its past with its present and future. As a Main Street Maryland community since 2001, the city has accomplished this, in part, with funding from the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development. Between FY15 and FY17, the department awarded Frostburg $327,500 in funding that has supported everything from façade renovations to the rehabilitation and repurposing of many of the town’s historic buildings.

Walking along Main Street, it is difficult to not be charmed by the town’s beauty, both in its surroundings and its structures. The city’s Main Street has a modern feeling, while still retaining much of its small-town appeal. Main Street Manager Deirdre Robertson only began her job with the city earlier this year but was immediately won over. “One of the things amazing to me coming here to work is how incredibly welcoming everyone is,” Robertson said. “I think I’d met all the business owners within two weeks. It’s a very charming and welcoming community.”

In addition to having a lively and thriving arts and entertainment district, Frostburg hosts a multitude of events year-round that provide something for the whole family. The spring Arts Walk event features the work of artists from all over and is one of their most popular events. Main Street businesses are incorporated into the event by hosting and selling the works of different artists. According to Robertson, the owners commonly report higher than average sales for the day. A brand new event, Pig Out in the Park, a family-friendly day in Hoffman Hollow Park complete with live music, a backyard barbecue competition, pie-eating contest and more, will be held on August 18 from 1-8 p.m.

As Frostburg continues to grow, Robertson said they will remain intent on preserving as much of the town’s history as possible while still moving forward. Being a Main Street Maryland community has been indispensable for their success. “The resources alone are a tremendous help,” Robertson said, adding that the program often helps fill gaps in funding that would otherwise be left unresolved. “It shows the businesses they aren’t on their own.”

“Main Attractions” is a regular series highlighting Main Street Maryland communities. Main Street Maryland is a comprehensive downtown revitalization program created in 1998 by the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development. These communities receive assistance for improving the economy, appearance, and image of their traditional downtown business districts. For more information on Main Street Maryland, visit http://dhcd.maryland.gov/Communities/Pages/programs/MainStreet.aspx