The Tri-County Council for Western Maryland has announced that applications are now open for the Senator George C. Edwards Fund for Western Maryland.
The fund, overseen by the 11-member Western Maryland Economic Future Investment Board and administered by the Tri-County Council, will provide loan and grant assistance to Washington, Allegany, and Garrett counties for economic development projects.
During the 2022 legislative session, the Maryland General Assembly allocated $50 million over four years, with $20 million available in FY 2023 and $10 million each in FY 2024, 2025, and 2026.
Funding can be granted or made as loans for capital infrastructure projects or business development projects to “improve the economic conditions in the region.”
More information and the intake process for the fund can be found on the new website, found here: www.senatoredwardsfund.org.
“The Senator George C. Edwards Fund will provide $50,000,000 over four years for Garrett, Allegany, and Washington Counties to use for economic development projects,” said Senator Edwards, the co-sponsor of the legislation that created the fund. “This fund will go a long way to help these counties move forward positively by creating jobs and increasing the tax base, which will be great for the region. Hopefully, this will work the way many of us think it will, so we can make this a permanent program just like other parts of the state have already done.”
“Tri-County Council is honored to administer the George C. Edwards Fund,” said Leanne Mazer, Executive Director of the Tri-County Council for Western Maryland. “Infrastructure and business development are cornerstones of economic growth, and we see this as a very unique opportunity to fund transformational projects to advance the regional economy and establish evidence of our need for this type of funding program.”
“It is an honor to continue Senator Edwards’ legacy of working hard to bring prosperity to Western Maryland,” said Andrew Sargent, regional representative with the Maryland Department of Commerce and board chair. “Using these considerable state resources, the Western Maryland Economic Future Investment Board will endeavor to buoy existing businesses and attract new ones to the region. We will measure success by the number of new positions created, the amount of private investment leveraged, and the increased tax base.”
Applications will be accepted in two project categories: capital infrastructure and business development. Capital infrastructure projects include broadband connectivity, road access improvements, housing initiatives, etc. Business development projects must lead to the direct creation or retention of new jobs that pay at least 120 percent of state minimum wages. Applications will be accepted and reviewed quarterly. All projects are encouraged to have matching funding identified and should have the support of their respective county economic development departments.
The Western Maryland Economic Future Investment Board includes representatives from the local Chambers of Commerce, economic development departments, and County Commissioners of Maryland’s three westernmost counties. The board is rounded out by a designee of the Maryland Municipal League and the Maryland Department of Commerce, who chairs the board.
Members of the board are: Garrett County Chamber of Commerce Will Wrobleski, George C. Edwards of the Garrett County Economic Development Corporation, Garrett County Commissioner Paul Edwards, Allegany County Chamber of Commerce President Juli McCoy, Allegany County Economic Development Director Jeff Barclay, Allegany County Commissioner David Caporale, Washington County Chamber of Commerce President Paul Frey, Washington County Economic Development Director Jonathan Horowitz, Washington County Commissioner Jeff Cline, Cumberland Mayor Ray Morriss and Maryland Department of Commerce representative Andrew Sargent, Sr.
Questions can be directed to [email protected].