Wednesday, August 29, 2012
The Annual Report of Maryland’s Rural Development Council for FY 2000
The FORVM's Year in Review for FY 2000
The Annual Report of Maryland’s Rural Development Council
Rural Communities, Concerns & Consensus
At the start of this new century, the Maryland economy, like the national economy, is running full throttle. Maryland's agriculture industry has produced a bumper crop of corn and soybeans, and the state's historically downtrodden urban and rural regions are experiencing a positive up-tick in the traditional indicators of success. Unemployment rates are down. Consumer confidence is up.
Still, several counties in Western Maryland and on the Eastern Shore have unemployment rates significantly above the statewide average. Poor access to quality health care, the continuing loss of viable farm and forestland, a crumbling infrastructure, and the low availability of suitable housing and reliable transportation remain serious challenges for Marylanders to solve.
The FORVM for Rural Maryland identifies important issues facing rural communities and brings together diverse groups of people and policy-makers to work toward improving the quality of life in Rural Maryland. At the close of Fiscal Year 2000, thanks to the efforts of many of our partners, the FORVM is better positioned then ever to help rural communities achieve a better tomorrow. Here are some highlights of the year just concluded.
Eastern Shore Economic Development
At the request of The Eastern Shore General Assembly Delegation, Governor Parris Glendening appointed the Eastern Shore Economic Development Task Force late last year. More than 100 people from across the Eastern Shore met over several months to study and craft short- and long-term solutions to many challenging economic problems.
Eight subcommittees of the task force, composed of members from each of the nine Eastern Shore counties, submitted individual and regional issues, concerns, and recommendations which the steering committee outlined by economic area. The task force's final report forms the basis of a comprehensive, long-range regional economic development strategy, both for individual counties and the Eastern Shore as a whole.
To preserve the integrity of the Eastern Shore, the Task Force agreed that the following six recommendations require immediate attention.
1) Create water and wastewater treatment systems as identified in individual county master plans to handle current and future needs.
2) Establish funding mechanisms, organize producer cooperatives, and promote production and marketing alternatives to enhance the sustainability of the agriculture and seafood industries. Use the statewide study currently underway to examine the impact of agriculture and poultry on Eastern Shore economy
3) Implement a high-speed fiber-optic network on the Eastern Shore to meet current and future needs.
4) Promote the development of an integrated regional public transportation system for the entire Eastern Shore and Delmarva area that includes securing long-term funding (at least five years) from the Maryland Mass Transit Administration and the Federal government.
5) Support local Workforce Investment Boards efforts to aid in motivating and training residents seeking to participate in the labor force.
6) Create two permanent regional planning organizations, charged with planning for and taking the required steps in achieving the desired business, economic, and community outcomes for the regions, including the timely implementation of the recommendations of the Eastern Shore Economic Development Task Force.
The Task Force and the Eastern Shore Delegation has asked the FORVM, in the role of a neutral facilitator, to help implement this last recommendation by working collaboratively with local officials to establish these regional councils. The FORVM will be working diligently toward that end in coming months.
Maryland, agriculture, eastern shore, Delmarva, General Assembly, technology,
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