Frederick by Foot

Summer Intern Completes Project to Track Usage by Square-Footage in Downtown Frederick

Intern Vanessa Moreno got to know every square-foot of Downtown Frederick this past summer. Really. As part of her summer internship with the City of Frederick's Department of Economic Development, the UMD Geography student completed feet-on-the-ground research in order to update a City database of the every existing structure in a wide Downtown area. The key data points she sought to confirm was property use and size.  


While some municipalities require establishments to apply annually for local business licenses, Frederick has never instituted such a requirement. Though true to the City’s devotion to keeping so-called ‘red tape’ to a bare-bone minimum, the lack of a mandated paper trail does present a challenge in maintaining current information in an ever-changing business and real estate landscape. Instead, City staff rely on other indicators - including business retention visits and visual evidence- as confirmation of a business' continued existence at a given location. Given the labor-intensive data collection, this particular database hadn’t received a comprehensive overhaul since 2005. 

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Lacing up her sneakers, Vanessa made her way through Market, Patrick, Church, and Court Street to record the tenants of each building. Visual scans and conversations with the building's businesses allowed her to confirm occupants of the 525 downtown addresses. The final database will serve as a more accurate foundation for future strategic planning.

"This project was a joy. I had a fun time surveying the area and learning about the building layout of this historical Downtown. It was fascinating to see what businesses occupied these buildings 12 years ago and to see which ones were still in place." - Vanessa Moreno

Vanessa has returned to the University of Maryland for her final year of college. After graduation, she says she expects to return to Frederick-- possibly working with one of the DED’s partnering organizations she was introduced to during her internship.