State of Downtown reports added businesses, considers improvements


The Downtown Frederick Partnership will begin community engagement processes ahead of 2025 Strategic Plan

FREDERICK, Md. (WDVM) — Within the last fiscal year, the Downtown Frederick Partnership says several news businesses have planted roots in town.

“We’ve seen 34 new retail businesses open. That represented a net increase in 76 new retail jobs,” explained executive director for the Downtown Frederick Partnership, Kara Norman

Norman outlined community initiatives, like the launch of resource pamphlets for those experiencing homelessness in the downtown area, and the Pitchcraft place-making competition that invites locals to create interactive public pieces; Norman says these are positive moves for the people who live and visit Frederick.

“When I talk to people about downtown Frederick, I always hear about the architecture, the walkability, but I think foremost we hear about the people, and the people that are a part of our community and really make it sing and shine. I think that is something we want to continue to celebrate and grow,” Norman said.

Julia Schaeffer has been a resident of downtown Frederick for the last five years. She moved from nearby Montgomery County to the downtown area and says she’s grown to love to vibrancy.

During the meeting, Schaeffer expressed that with the success of the area, also comes problems for those who live nearby.

“[There is] a lot of people coming into a city that’s not really well-prepared sometimes to clean up after all the folks who come in, to accommodate the parking, the accommodate simply the flow of traffic on our sidewalks,” Schaeffer said.

Those in attendance were asked to send in ideas to improve downtown. Comments included increased affordable housing, more public art and additional parking.

Kennedy Smith, one of the nation’s foremost experts on commercial district revitalization, has been hired by the partnership to spearhead the organizations’ strategic plan for the next five years. She’ll consider better ways to manage traffic, and more.

“Are businesses really doing multi-channel retailing so that they’re not totally dependent on one market segment, or several market segments? And how might the district evolve,” Smith said.

The Downtown Frederick Partnership has launched an online community survey that is open to the public for input on the new strategic plan. To participate, visit

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