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Washington Co. gets $600,000 grant for Yale Drive extension

June 08, 2011|By HEATHER KEELS | heather.keels@herald-mail.com
  • Washington County's request for a $600,000 federal grant to help extend Yale Drive through Mount Aetna Farms has been formally approved, according to an announcement Wednesday from Maryland's U.S. senators.
By Chad Trovinger, Graphic Artist

Washington County's request for a $600,000 federal grant to help extend Yale Drive through Mount Aetna Farms has been formally approved, according to an announcement Wednesday from Maryland's U.S. senators.

The grant — the first of two consecutive $600,000 grants the county is seeking from the Appalachian Regional Commission — will go toward funding a $9.3 million project to extend Yale Drive to a new entrance to Hagerstown Community College.

"We're very excited that (the grant) got approved," said Timothy Troxell, Executive Director of the Hagerstown-Washington County Economic Development Commission.

"We've been working to get this money for probably 2 1/2 years or so, so we're just happy that the project's moving forward and will open up additional land and bring jobs to Washington County."

The road will extend through undeveloped land known as Mount Aetna Farms, where a local nonprofit organization aims to create a technology park.

The Yale Drive project was approved last month as part of Washington County's Capital Improvement Plan, despite objections from Washington County Board of Commissioners President Terry Baker.

Baker and other critics said roads through Mount Aetna Farms should be funded by the developer who would benefit from them, while supporters touted the road's potential to relieve traffic congestion, improve access to the college and to potentially attract jobs.

County officials expect the technology park project to create about 2,000 new jobs over the next 15 years, according to the release from U.S. Sens. Benjamin L. Cardin and Barbara A. Mikulski.

"This federal funding will help bring Maryland's thriving biotechnology, cyber security and other high-tech industries to Washington County," Cardin said in the release. "Technology is the key to success in today's economy, and ensuring access to Mt. Aetna Farm Technology Park will bring new, 21st Century jobs to Washington County residents."

"I'm so proud that these funds will help the region build the infrastructure it needs to attract new high-tech businesses, jobs and economic development to Washington County," Mikulski said in the release.

The ARC is a federal-state partnership that works for sustainable community and economic development in Appalachia.

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