In August 2016, former Governor Markell designated Laurel’s core commercial and historic area as a Downtown Development District. Cedar Creek Planners prepared the town’s application.
The application is based on need and impact – 50 percent; local incentives – 20 percent; and the District Plan – 30 percent. Laurel is the state’s poorest town in terms of Median Household Income (MHI). The 72-acre area proposed for the Downtown Development District included long-term vacant properties and about 50 percent rental units. A third of the town’s housing stock dates to 1939 or earlier.
Lee Ann worked with the town to identify and prepare a menu of incentives that could be combined with state DDD grants and the state Historic Preservation Tax Credit to encourage reinvestment, rehabilitation, and revitalizing in Laurel’s core. She is now working with the Laurel Redevelopment Corporation and the town to encourage property owners to take advantage of the designation.