Downtown Frederick Maryland: No More Lights Out?
Frederick Magazine has been around 30 years, covering that beautiful old city in Maryland and the surrounding countryside. Visitors and residents alike enjoy the travel tips, restaurant coverage, and its beautiful visual explorations to visit, live, and work.
The magazine also covers the not so pleasant realities that any city of any size must deal with. People may be surprised that such a lovely city near the center of national wealth in Washington DC also suffers from commercial and residential blight. This month's issue highlights these questions and suggests possible answers.
Of course, it is frustrating for residents in the article highlighting some of the cases of blight in downtown Of course, when one leaves Central Business District, the blight problem expands.
Several solutions are put up, one of which is the land value tax, which the city has approached closely for some years. Urbantools presented a study of Frederick some years back but LVT was not adopted at that time.
Since then, blight has increased, and the city's poverty rate has increased. There is a surplus of buildable formerly industrial and commercial land that would be a perfect target for redevelopment as the flow of people and capital away from expensive areas like DC and Montgomery County Maryland continues apace.
There are 2 basic problems that we know believe a land value tax would address in the systemic sense:
1. Fixing up of vacant lot or a blighted building means a big tax increase. People are not so sure that an investment of labor and capital would be a good idea.
2. Once a building becomes blighted or indeed a vacant lot, the holding cost makes it easy to sit, for decades at a time, on that land (or rubble).
The Asiana building highlighted in the article is simply the worst manifestation of this problem. Enacting a land value tax to address that and other nuisance sites that corrode the property values of responsible neighbors would not cost the city one dime, and would also have the side effect of rewarding capital investment without public subsidy in the city of Frederick.
Frederick Maryland is a gem, that needs new strategies for some new polish. It's worth more than a visit.