Neighborhood Connections

Neighborhood Connections

Every jurisdiction has neighborhoods….towns, cities, suburbs, rural areas.   Neighborhood is defined as a geographically bounded community of multiple and often numerous residences.  Yet some of the most interesting and diverse neighborhoods may not be named and may not be drawn on any map.

Frederick County is divided into municipalities and developments that control where residents vote, go to school, and what services people receive.  The City of Frederick has defined neighborhoods identified as NACs, run by Neighborhood Advisory Councils.  These Councils provide citizens with avenues for obtaining neighborhood improvements and communicating with elected leaders.  You can find them easily on the map.

Neighborhood Amber Meadows

Cul de Sac Neighbors


Yet, within the City are other neighborhoods of almost every kind.  The North End Civic Association holds yearly picnics at Staley Park in Frederick.   It is well attended each year by both those who live there now and by those who lived in this neighborhood in the past. NECA just celebrated its 70th anniversary, proof of the strength of neighborhoods.

Downtown Neighborhood

New Downtown Neighborhood


Ever attended a block party?  Ever shoveled snow and finished up with hot chocolate, hot toddys?  Or played a late night game of Scrabble with the neighbors because no one could get to work the next day? How about built a snowman in your cul de sac?  Start as neighbors, become friends!


There is a cohesive neighborhood of 3 homes surrounded by multiple acres near the watershed.  Another neighborhood was brought together by resident interactions based on advocacy.  Yet another all met at the same time when they were first building their homes. Neighborhood bonds can last a lifetime.

Some of Frederick’s greatest treasures are unnamed and unmapped neighborhoods within neighborhoods. Come with me to find a home in one of the neighborhoods of Frederick.  Who knows what unexpected treasures you might find?

Mailbox Neighborhood

Meet at the mailbox!

Giving Back the Power

Power Saving Home

Giving back power is one of the goals of a relatively new housing industry.  Of course, I am talking about sustainable (also know as “green”) building.  Many of you know of the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design or LEED movement.  You are seeing that LEED word many places these days – but what does it really mean?

Power saving

Green Light

LEED housing meets strict requirements of the US Environmental Protection Agency.  There are other green building certifications, but LEED is the most widely known. In order to get LEED certification, homes collect points for green features including energy efficient light bulbs, water-saving toilets, high-efficiency appliances and systems, insulation, and rooftop solar panels.

Energy efficient homes save power with their high efficiency systems.  Net-zero homes are designed to generate as much electricity as they use.  Sometimes, so much power is generated that the electric meter runs backward. This sends energy back to the grid – giving back the power.

Lowering utility bills is only one of the benefits of green homes. Financial benefits include tax credits and increased resale value.  Data shows that green homes increase value about 9% above traditional housing. A green home is a great investment!

Using less power

Green City

Almost 30% of homes built in 2016 will qualify as sustainable housing.  This not only benefits home owners.  It benefits the world we live in.  Solar and wind-powered energy don’t require water or deplete other natural resources.  They’re less prone to large-scale failure because they are built in modules that are distributed through a region.  A weather disaster may knock out pieces, but the system can usually operate without those pieces.

Power in cloud

Clean Air

Renewable energy does impact the environment – but its impacts are less damaging than fossil fuels.  Less greenhouse gases which trap heat in the atmosphere are emitted. Health is improved because of air and water quality is improved.

Green certifications of different levels of achievement are awarded by LEED for Homes, Energy Star, and NAHB Green organizations.  You can check out their websites for details or you can give me a call.  I’d love to help you find a green home in Frederick!

Saving Power World

Hold the World Gently in our Hands

It’s all about Trust

Donna Kuzemchak
Trust your Realtor

Priscilla and Marshall’s new home

Picking a Realtor is all about trust.  You need someone who will answer all your questions.  Someone who understands that you don’t buy or sell houses every day.  Someone you’re comfortable with.  Someone who will be honest with you even if it’s bad news.  In essence, find someone you can trust.

Having a Realtor help you sell your house can save you time and money.  Only a Realtor can put your property on the local Listing Service, which is the best marketing tool you can use.  A Realtor understands the intricacies of selling and is able to to help you figure out the sometimes convoluted selling process.  S/he will will do a market analysis and help you list your home at a price that will attract potential buyers.  S/he will shepherd the process from listing to contract through to closing.


Trust your Title Company

Smiles at the closing table

Some Realtors will tell you that you should have an Exclusive Buyers Agent to purchase a home. I agree it’s good to have an agent working exclusively for you as a buyer, but it’s not always necessary.  Having someone who knows what you are looking for and is helping you find the right house at the right price is invaluable.  Having someone who is able to help you negotiate a good price for the home you want to buy can save you thousands of dollars.

Having someone you can trust is priceless.


Trust your Listing Agent

Under contract in 8 days!

Listing Agents work for the seller.  As a buyer, you can still choose to use the listing agent to help purchase a property that you want.  Just remember that according to Maryland law, the Listing Agent works for the seller.  S/he must still be honest with you, and isn’t allowed to hide latent defects in the home.  Agents can work for the seller and still help you as a buyer.


Having a professional Realtor help you buy or sell your home is in your best interests.  Using one you trust is the most important decision of all!


Adaptive Reuse – Recycling on a Grand Scale

Adaptive reuse is recycling on a grand scale.  Actually adaptive reuse is on the scale of reusing an old site or old building for a purpose other than the one for which it was originally constructed and used.  In other words, the original structure is not torn down to have something else built in its place.  Instead, the original structure is adapted within and without to serve a new purpose for a current population while allowing it to hold the history of the site intact.

Record Street Home

Adaptive Reuse

Adaptive reuse is a worldwide creative architectural endeavor with some amazing results – from the Everyman Theater in Baltimore, a theater adapted from a parking garage –  to a European sewage plant turned into a cultural center – to a bank in Butte, Montana that is now a restaurant serving dinner in the vault.  All of these efforts and thoughtful consideration of history and progress are key in conserving land and history and reducing urban sprawl.

City Hall

Government reuse

Protection of our historic resources has encouraged much adaptive reuse in Frederick.  The William Talley Recreation Center was featured in my last post.  Another well known building in Frederick that has been preserved by adaptive reuse is City Hall.  In its former life, it was the Courthouse of Frederick County.  It is one of the many buildings that make downtown Frederick an architectural marvel.

There are many brilliant examples of adaptive reuse in downtown – factories that have become office buildings, residential spaces that now hold businesses, and even churches that have become residences.  These types of adaptive reuse help Frederick residents enjoy the past while living in the future.



520 N Market

520 North Market Street

Upcoming adaptive reuse project:

520 North Market Street was built in 1878 as a “school for boys.”  It is characterized by its flat roof, projecting central pavilion and bracketed cornices.  The former schoolhouse became offices for Citizen Services of Frederick County.  The County sold the building to Interfaith Housing Alliance for the purpose of creating workforce housing.  IHA is partnering with PIRHL to adapt this lovely old building into 59 apartments.

Support businesses and organizations in our area that aim to adaptively reuse existing and historic structures and thereby preserve our history and secure our future.


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Where is this building?


Question of the day: This is not on the library building you know on Patrick Street.  Do you where this sign is?


Marching to a different beat

Armory capstone

Marching at the Armory

The Armory, on the corner of Bentz and Second Street was built in 1913 to serve Company A, First Regiment of the Maryland National Guard.  It is a beautiful example of adaptive reuse.  The armory was built in a T shape.  It has a two story “head” in the front and a long drill hall extending to the rear.  At first glance, the building front on Bentz Street reminds one of a fortress with its dark masonry construction and towers and buttresses.  Children often know this building on sight, calling it the “castle.”

Armory 1

Castle facade

After Company A moved to new quarters in the 1980’s, the building provided space for a number of social and recreational events.  In 2001, the City renovated the building.  The gymnasium that was used for marching is now used for basketball, volleyball and events. The basement is a fitness center; and smaller rooms all over the building are used for meetings, offices and storage.


Passers by no longer hear marching orders for soldiers in the drill hall.  Now, we hear the music and directions of exercise instructors for aerobic classes, the clink of exercise equipment in use in the Fitness Center, and the active voices of citizenry in the classrooms and social rooms.  Check out the brochure on the William R. Talley Recreation Center at under Recreation for the list of programs and offerings available at the Center now.

Armory Sign

Talley Recreation Center



Did you know?

William R. Talley was the first Director of Recreation for Frederick City and a man with a long legacy of coaching and a long serving supporter of recreational activities.

Do you know the name of the contractor who built the Frederick Armory in 1913?

Winter takes a hike and so should You!


Hike with Loki and his backpack

Hike with Loki and his backpack

Finally, winter took a hike; now, so can we!  It’s time to get outside and enjoy this wonderful place many of us are lucky to call home.

Spring is the perfect time to explore all kinds of inviting paths around Frederick.  You can take a hike on the 15 miles of trails at Gambrill Mountain straddling the Catoctin Mountain Ridge or take a leisurely stroll along the paved walks of Carroll Creek Linear Park with your pet on a leash.  You can increase your speed to a calorie burning pace in Baker Park from Bentz Street to Schifferstadt.  Check out the City of Frederick website ( that identifies 4 different paths around Baker Park each with different distances.

Enjoy more adventurous treks at Cunningham Falls (although I suggest you wait a few months to actually get in the Falls).  The trails there offer both short and moderate length hikes as well as a longer 8 mile loop.  Take your camera and enjoy the great overlooks  at Wolf and Chimney Rocks.

Walk some of the historic 185 mile towpath of the C&O Canal (by the way it’s open year round), the numerous trails and loops on Sugarloaf Mountain  or South Mountain where you meet the border of the Appalachian Trail.

If you love history, visit the Monocacy Battlefield for scenery and to trace the path of the battle or take a walking tour of downtown Frederick (my kids still remember the story of “Spite”) or stop at the Visitor Center in downtown Brunswick and pick up a walking tour brochure that outlines 13 stops and begins along the Potomac River.

Want company on your hike?  Check out or contact The Mountain Club of Maryland at or the local branch of the Sierra Club at  OR call your neighbor, meet at the closest park and follow the path you see.

Adrian keeps on hiking

Adrian keeps on hiking

East, West, North, and South – wherever you live in this area, a hiking adventure is waiting for you and your comfortable shoes!  You probably won’t be the first person to walk the path you find.

Did you know:  Wolf Rock is a quartzite formation that is reported to be 550 million years old. While standing there think about whose shoes might have already been in that very spot!

Want to make your home in or near this hiking wonderland?

Call me at 301-964-9988.




Reflections on Frederick

Reflections in spring

Reflections in Carroll Creek

For years, Bill Adkins has artfully captured the essence of Frederick with his trusty camera, and this photo of reflections in Carroll Creek made me think of how I tend to reflect on my years of living in Frederick when I take an evening stroll in the park. Frederick isn’t the sleepy town I moved to in 1986.  Back then, the downtown sidewalks rolled up at 6PM. Frederick has evolved into a vibrant, eclectic community of residents, businesses, shops, and restaurants.  The City has more than doubled in size – providing friendships and possibilities I never imagined when I moved here.

This picture captures the heart of an evening walk in the park – the gentle curving brick walkway, the still water of Carroll Creek, the twilight evening, the gorgeous sky, the reflection of the walkway lining trees on the water, and the green lush grass.  The street lamps invite two walkers further along the path, and the reflection in the water invites us to contemplate the joys of life.  Ahhhh you say… a calm and quiet evening stroll….time to think and enjoy and reflect.

I see many of you strolling the downtown streets taking in the atmosphere, enjoying the architecture, checking out the storefront window displays; and I see you strolling along the Creek greeting passersby with a simple smile or a cheery hello.  I see you in Baker Park sitting on the many wonderfully placed benches just watching and seeing what that spot has to offer; and I see you in your neighborhoods enjoying our safe and eclectic community.

So what are you thinking about at those times?  What do those walks and quiet times mean to you?  What are you reflecting on?  I’d love to know and I’d love potential residents to the Frederick area to know your reflections.  Help me help them see more of what Frederick has to offer.  Submit your thoughts and comments and next time I see you on the walkway, know that your reflections have helped me better share the Frederick that we love.


For help locating or selling a home in Frederick, contact Donna Kuzemchak at 301-964-9988 or  You can contact Mackintosh Realtors at 301-662-0155.

To see more of Bill Adkins’ work, go to

It’s Springin’


blue flowers

Color me blue


Doesn’t it feel a little like a seasonal April Fool?   April 1, 2016, and the cherry blossoms are just about finished, daffodils and hyacinths are blooming, tulip foliage is full and green and buds are visible, and oh good grief, grass is springing up all over and ready for mowing!

SPRINGIN’   …the arising of nature within a fairly short time from the drab dark and cold of winter to new blooming growth and beauty.  This especially early spring might feel a little like an April Fool joke but the reality of this early springin’ of blooming color in our region fills the senses and is oh so welcome.

Skip all that traffic to the DC tidal basin.  Frederick’s springin’ is more than worthy of a long walk or easy drive to view the eye popping masses of bright yellow forsythia gorgeous whether on the tips of a carefully trimmed bush or in the sprawling shoots of weeping shrubs covering a hillside, or enjoy the vision of white at the top of the trees as you travel north on South Market Street and so many other of our area streets and roads, and savor the bursts of color from bulbs so many residents carefully plant in their yards and on hillsides bordering roads whether an acre or a couple of square feet.

Uncover the patio furniture early this year and breathe in the fresh air.  Enjoy an early April Day on the deck of your townhomes and hang a birdfeeder.  Get out on the balcony of your apartments and enjoy the view.  There is nothing like livin’ in Frederick for “Springin”!

Weather forecast for International Falls, Minnesota for April 1 is temperature of 29 degrees with a mix of snow and rain.  Ready to move to Frederick, MD?


Exploding Forsythia

trimmed forsythia

Coiffed Forsythia

Contact Donna Kuzemchak,

Realtor with Mackintosh, Inc.


Mackintosh Office


A Walk in the Park

Creek Walkers

Who would have thought a walk in the park would look like this? I’m not one to take long walks in the cold, but these people sure look like they’re having fun!

And the ice on Carroll Creek Linear Park is a great reminder that tomorrow is my favorite First Saturday of the year – Fire in Ice. Downtown Frederick Partnership provides some great events throughout the year that make it fun to live in downtown Frederick, and Fire in Ice is at the top of my list.

Ice sculptures, live ice sculpting, fire dancing, an ice playground and s’more treats abound in downtown on this evening each year, and the result is spectacular! With almost no chance of precipitation and highs in the 40’s, tomorrow will be perfect to enjoy this little sl-ice of Heaven. I can’t wait to share the pictures with you!

If you’d like to live where the fun continues year-round, contact me at or 301-964-9988.

Photo from The Photo Shop.

You can visit Bill Adkins’ blog, A Year on Market, at

Visit to get a list of times and events.

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow?

Donna Kuzemchak

Anyone who was saying “Let it snow” in Maryland last week got what s/he wanted (and probably a few fists shaken at him/her). According to numbers from the National Weather service, blizzard conditions dumped from 29.5”-35” of snow between 2PM Friday and 4AM Sunday. By Monday, cabin fever was rampant. On Tuesday, there was a report of a fist fight over who got to go through a street that was only plowed wide enough for one car. It’s Friday, and roads still aren’t clear enough to make it safe for schools to open. Why would anyone want to live here? Honestly, there are too many reasons to count.

Frederick is big enough to have art galleries, great restaurants and shops, terrific parks, and lots more to enjoy, but small enough for people to care for one another. And care for one another, they did. From simple things like Game Night at East of Market Apartments to free lunches at 4 Frederick County Public Schools to get food to kids who may not otherwise get a hot meal…from neighbors helping shovel one another out to residents and businesses sharing cookies and hot drinks with plow drivers…

And the sheer beauty of the blizzard of 2016!

Baker Park snow

Mount Olivet in snow

Church Street snow

A wintry day from inside

The beauty of a snow drift

Sunset snow in field

To me, the question is: Why would anyone want to live anywhere else? If you’re interested in living in Frederick, give me a call at 301-964-9988 or email me at After all, why would you want to live anywhere else?

Did you know: Frederick County DPW is responsible for maintaining approximately 1,150 miles of roadways and 207 bridges. That’s a LOT of snow to remove! (

Special thanks to Gail Hambrick Sadler and Hayden Duke for letting me use their gorgeous pictures of the snow!

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