Western Maryland partners with surrounding states to elevate the economy

02/18/2020| Amanda Winters

Western Maryland partners with surrounding states to elevate the economy

02/18/2020 | Amanda Winters

Allegany and Garrett counties are teaming up with their regional neighbors to promote the benefits of doing business along the I-68 highway.

The Western Maryland region – along with Pennsylvania’s Bedford and Somerset counties, and West Virginia’s Mineral County – are partnering to fund this effort and elevate the local economy. Known as the I-68 Regional Alliance, these five counties plan to leverage their location and target three strategic industries for business attraction efforts.

Technology, lifestyle manufacturing, and aerospace supply chain will be the key industry focuses for the alliance, with plans to expand existing business activity and attract additional companies to the region. The three states will also join forces on tradeshows and other marketing efforts to expand their reach and promote the advantages of locating along the corridor, including easy access to several major metropolitan cities, multiple international and regional airports, lower business costs, and lifestyle amenities—including shorter commutes for those who live and work along I-68.

The collaborative idea began with Frostburg State University’s VP for regional development and engagement, Al Delia, who used funding from an Appalachian Regional Commission grant to get started. Sandy Sponaugle, CEO of local business Platinum PR, is creating and implementing the marketing content for the alliance. Additionally, the Greater Cumberland Committee is supporting the collaboration as one of its strategic initiatives.

“The competition to become and stay economically successful is national and global. To compete and win on that scale, economic development efforts must be cooperative and regional. The I-68 Regional Alliance offers opportunities and amenities for economic development that make us far stronger and more competitive together than individually,” said Delia. “Although I’m pleased that Frostburg State University was able to help launch this effort, all the credit really belongs to visionary leaders of many organizations in all three states – Maryland, West Virginia and Pennsylvania – that have made the I-68 Alliance a reality.”

Stay tuned for updates on i68alliance.com.

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