The FSU Division of Regional Development and Engagement was established with special, permanent funding sought by the Western Maryland state delegation and provided by Governor Hogan. The mission of the new division is to advance the efforts of Frostburg State University to more strategically and directly engage with the region to improve economic opportunity and the quality of life in the communities we serve by deploying FSU’s considerable intellectual capital and resources to enhancing our region.
Since its inception in 2018, the University has been a leader or an essential partner in some exciting work being done throughout our region. A few examples include:
I-68 Regional Alliance
Working in partnership with The Greater Cumberland Committee, FSU helped to create The I-68 Regional Alliance, a regional economic development organization consisting of five counties (Allegany, Garrett, Bedford, Somerset and Mineral) in three states (Maryland, Pennsylvania and West Virginia) with shared economic development goals and unified efforts to achieve them.
Through the Alliance, the region has identified several priority industry-sectors for further development within the region. Included are aerospace/defense, information technology and lifestyle manufacturing. A critical need that is hindering further development in the region are inadequate housing options for the professional/middle-market workforce needed in these sectors. Together, the members of the I-68 Alliance have secured grant funding to more clearly identify the needs, barriers and solutions to this significant challenge for the region.
Western Maryland Advanced Technology Center at FSU Innovation Park
Represented on a Gubernatorial Task Force to explore ways to establish Western Maryland as a hub for advanced technology job creation, FSU’s Division of Regional Development and Engagement has emerged as the driving force behind an effort to create the Western Maryland Advanced Technology Center at FSU Innovation Park. Located on a 60-acre site owned by the University adjacent to the main campus, FSU Innovation Park will be developed as the physical location for FSU partnership with the private sector in creating and bringing new jobs and companies to the region. Already, new companies and organizations have located at FSU Innovation Park – fully occupying the Center for Applied Research and Innovation (CARI) Building and space leased by FSU at a privately-owned building already on the property is fully subscribed. Sectors represented by companies already locating in the Park include laboratory sciences and analysis, cyber-security, clean energy, and new advanced technology companies in the waster-to-value manufacturing sector.
Regional Science Center/Challenger Learning Center
Beginning in late 2018, FSU began exploring the establishment of a regional science center to foster more interest in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) study and careers among K-12 students in the region. Partnering with the City of Frostburg to take advantage of an opportunity resulting from the City’s relocation of its municipal building to renovated space elsewhere in the city, FSU has secured state funding and begun raising charitable gifts to move forward with plans to renovate the old City Hall on Main Street in Frostburg as a regional science center that will house a Challenger Learning Center. This new and exciting facility, that will be the home for leading-edge educational programming, will also serve as a visitor destination for the region.
RDE Involvement in Community-Based Activities
In addition to the work being carried-out by FSU on distinct programs and projects, University expertise and representation is sought after for a variety of community-based activities. FSU Regional Development and Engagement regularly participates and contributes to a variety of community-based activities including:
- Allegany County – Development of the Economic Development Strategic Plan
- City of Cumberland – Development of the Economic Development Strategic Plan
- City of Cumberland – Housing Study
- City of Frostburg and Evergreen Associates – Hill Street School Housing Redevelopment
- City of Frostburg – Center Street Redevelopment Project
RDE Engagement with Other Community and Statewide Organizations
- Allegany Arts Council, Board of Directors
- TGCC, Executive Committee
- Maryland Clean Energy Center, Board of Directors
- Tri-County Council, Revolving Loan Committee
- Maryland Economic Development Association, Membership Committee