A number of Eastern Shore main streets towns are drawing on the history of their central business districts as tools to get people to visit downtown. Two of them, Salisbury and Priness Anne, have created walking tours of the central areas, according to the Daily Times. Programs such as this are a staple in Main Street communities notes Amy Seitz, Maryland’s Main Street Coordinator. “Walking tours are something that tend to be an element of Main Streets in general,” in terms of promoting town centers she observed. Salisbury created its tours soon after receiving its Main Street designation . The Maryland Main Street program is a division of the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development, an agency that works to strengthen the economic potential of Maryland’s traditional main streets. Michael Day, the manager of the Main Street program for Berlin and Pocomoke City concurred that drawing on a community’s history is a worthwhile initiative for a Main Street program.
Downtown Cambridge is another place where an exciting renaissance is underway. Anytime we pass near the historic county seat, we pull off Route 50 to enjoy a little time on a Main Street that has a unique blend of shopping, art, music, dining, recreation and history set against a picturesque waterfront backdrop. It is exciting to see the changes that are underway there as the town draws heavily on the sense of a place that’s created by the historic vista and uses that to create a competitive business environment for arts and entertainment.
As Elkton works to reinvigorate the economic health of Main Street, perhaps this is a low
cost strategy, which when coupled with the Arts and Entertainment district would help. Elkton’s work and successes with the Arts & Entertainment district has been noted in State Spotlight, a publication of the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies. We believe that it is the community’s unique streetscape, created by its old buildings and unique story, which can create a valued synergy, just as Cambridge is doing.
By-the-way, The Main Street approach to revitalizing our traditional central areas was developed by the National Trust for Historic Preservation more than 25 years ago and is administered by the non-profit National Main Street Center of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. These founding non-profits see a community’s history as a core element in a successful intervention.