$75K grant aims to support the business of recreation

Goal is to lure outdoor gear manufacturers

CUMBERLAND — Allegany County Government has been awarded a $75,000 grant by the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) to support Western Maryland’s outdoor economy. The project will develop a recruitment and strategic plan to attract outdoor recreation/lifestyle manufacturing to locate, expand, and grow in Western Maryland.

Photo by AlleganyPlayground.com
Officials are hoping to use Western Maryland’s proximity to outdoor recreation to lure a manufacturer of outdoor gear.

The project is in collaboration with Garrett County Government and the state’s Maryland Department of Commerce. It comes at the heels of the state-driven Maryland Outdoor Recreation Economic (MORE) Commission report, which was released in December of 2019. The commission, which was tasked by Governor Larry Hogan to develop innovative strategies to market Maryland’s unique outdoor and heritage recreation brand as well as recommend initiatives to grow and attract new companies, put forth multiple statewide recommendations in its final report.

Recommendations included the formation of the state’s newly appointed Office of Outdoor Recreation as well as addressing the need for a recruitment plan to attract outdoor lifestyle manufacturers, such as kayak, boat, bicycle, and ATV companies, to locate and grow in Maryland.

Allegany and Garrett counties are gateway communities, home to over 148,000 acres of public land, 31 percent of the entire state’s owned acreage. With over 500 miles of developed trail systems, one national park, three state forests, and 11 state parks, Western Maryland has the ability to leverage economic and community development through its growing outdoor economy and access to natural resources.

“Maryland’s outdoor recreation sector generates $14 billion in spending each year, supporting 109,000 jobs throughout the state,” said Maryland Commerce Secretary Mike Gill. “Receiving this ARC grant will enhance our efforts to grow this industry and attract additional recreation and lifestyle businesses, as well as visitors, to Western Maryland. We believe this project has great potential to create new jobs for residents throughout the region.”

The project focuses on hiring a consulting team to produce a strategic and recruitment plan which will provide three specific deliverables:

  • a situational attraction analysis highlighting the development of an industry-specific compatibility matrix;
  • a regional strategic plan for business attraction; and
  • and the creation of an industry-focused, regional marketing and sales pitch packet.

The plan’s implementation will empower Allegany and Garrett counties to create jobs, leverage private investment, and utilize its access to natural resources as a powerful marketing tool for economic development regionally and for the state of Maryland.

The Appalachian Regional Commission is an economic development partnership agency of the federal government and 13 state governments focusing on 420 counties across the Appalachian region. ARC’s mission is to innovate, partner, and invest to build community capacity and strengthen economic growth in Appalachia. Hogan was selected as the ARC co-chair earlier this year, serving as the fifth Maryland governor to hold this position, and the first co-chair from Maryland since 1992.

Filed in: Latest Headlines, Outdoors, Sports

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