Making Connections deserves accolades

A long-ago advertising slogan for a camera company insisted that “Image is Everything.” It may not be everything, but it certainly helps.

Or hurts, as the case may be. Long after Washington County’s heavy industries closed or scaled back, metropolitan newspapers would employ boilerplate language referring to Hagerstown and environs as a decaying relic of a bygone era, which was not entirely false.

But if Washington County is to shake off an image that’s going on 40 years old, it can’t be shy about tooting its own horn.

Washington County’s Making Connections marketing campaign is an excellent step in that direction, and it recently received well-deserved recognition from the state. In April, the Washington County Department of Business Development won the Small Community Economic Development Marketing Award for the Making Connections campaign from the Maryland Economic Development Association.

Making Connections is a good campaign promoting a good idea: developing connector roads that open up land for industrial development, while providing better traffic flow and quicker emergency-response times.

Four projects have fallen under the Making Connections umbrella — Col. Henry K. Douglas Drive; Halfway Boulevard; Professional Boulevard; and Crayton Boulevard. They are funded through a combination of county, federal and private money, the goal being to punch dead-end spurs through to well-traveled highways.

The projects come with obvious benefits for both industry and travelers. They also serve to promote development where it can be concentrated in areas that already have public services, rather than scattering it throughout the county. But they also deliver the news to the rest of the state, and beyond, that Washington County listens to the concerns of companies, and is open to creative solutions that involve working with, not against, private capital.

Developers are quite aware of what’s happening in other parts of the state, and when local governments do something that’s good, or bad, for business, they take note. The Making Connections campaign helps make sure they get the message.

We congratulate the county’s business department for the recognition it has received, and we add our thanks for helping erase an outdated image that has remained in place for far too long.

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