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June 02, 2008Press Release

Annapolis and Hagerstown designated, Hagerstown expanded and recertified. To further stimulate local business activity, Governor Martin O’Malley announced that the cities of Annapolis and Havre de Grace have been selected to join the State’s vibrant Arts and Entertainment District program. He also announced that Hagerstown has been approved for expansion and recertification. Administered by the Maryland Department of Commerce through the Maryland State Arts Council, the program provides local and county governments with myriad tax benefits designed to stimulate economic development and enhance and increase the number of artists and cultural enterprises clustered in designated areas. Maryland was one of the first states in the country to develop an Arts and Entertainment District program on a statewide basis. “The development and expansion of the Arts and Entertainment Districts enhances the quality of life for residents, business owners and artists while showcasing, preserving and promoting Maryland culture,” said Governor O’Malley. “I am pleased to award this designation to the cities of Annapolis and Havre de Grace - along with the expansion of Hagerstown - to stimulate economic activity and enhance the Arts in their communities.” Annapolis and Havre de Grace become the State’s 16th and 17th Arts and Entertainment Districts, and the first in Anne Arundel and Harford counties respectively. Hagerstown becomes the only district to apply for and receive recertification since the program was founded in 2001.

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Anne Arundel County – Capitol City Cultural Arts District
Targeting artists, arts and cultural enterprises and marketing the anchor tenant, Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts, the District includes the projected 2010 opening of the Bates Magnet School for the Arts and abuts the central business district, currently a successful retail, arts, cultural and historic area. Included in the boundaries are the Anne Arundel County Boys and Girls Club with an onsite gallery and arts classes. The housing stock directly adjacent to the district offers affordable housing for artists. Annapolis Department of Economic Affairs will provide staffing and administration. Harford County – Havre de Grace, Arts by the Bay
Havre de Grace’s A&E District is located in the historic downtown core. Projects include the Signature Sidewalk, historic signage, Washington Street Streetscape and Hutchins Park. Sixteen historic properties have been renovated as restaurants, Bed & Breakfasts, offices, retail and a Visitor’s Center. Proposed state and local capital improvement projects include a boat pier and development of the Stackhouse waterfront property. The City is a designated Maryland Main Street and certified Historic District. The management team - comprised of government, business and artists – will act as a committee of the Main Street program and report directly to their Board of Directors. The City has capitalized on the tourism value of their waterfront and will benefit from the influx of BRAC employees to the County and surrounding areas. Hagerstown Arts & Entertainment District (Expansion and Recertification)
Hagerstown’s application was approved for an expansion and recertification. The expansion significantly increases the mix of affordable housing and creates new opportunities for arts enterprises. Since the 2001 designation, Hagerstown has enjoyed much success. The first affordable artist studios became available in early 2008 and another 21,000 square foot will open later this year. Two new assets scheduled for completion include the Barbara Ingram School for the Arts - a public high school, including a black box theater, gallery, music rehearsal area and dance room - Fall 2009 and the City Theater - a 200-seat theater and upper floor ballroom - Fall 2008. Since their original designation, the City completed University Park, seen the Maryland Theatre expansion, and initiated many special events and festivals.