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October 19, 2010

Holt releases BaltCo economic development plan

Republican Baltimore County executive candidate Kenneth C. Holt has released a 7-point economic development program designed to "expand career choices" for county residents, according to a statement released by the campaign.

The statement released by Holt, a Kingsville investments executive who is running against Democratic Councilman Kevin Kamenetz in the Nov. 2 general election, proposes continuing efforts already being pursued by the county's Department of Economic Development and includes new initiatives.

"I'm trying to articulate a vision," Holt said in an interview. "I'm not saying these are exclusive, I'm not saying the Department of Economic Development doesn't have good ideas. They do."

The freshest proposals call for programs Holt has advocated in public forums and in interviews, including a Negro League Baseball Museum and a performing arts center on Liberty Road, and promoting "agritourism" along the lines of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania and the wine regions of California.

A senior vice president with Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, Holt said he wants to create more county "enterprise zones," or districts identified as needing help in boosting business. Such zones now exist in the southeast and southwest ends of the county, where businesses moving there can be eligible for county and state tax credits.

Holt, a former one-term member of the Maryland House of Delegates, said he would expand the concept to include more regions and specific sites, such as the Solo Cup plant and Shire Pharmaceuticals, both in Owings Mills and both slated to close in 2012 with a combined loss of about 700 jobs. He said he would add an enterprise zone at the industrial complex of Sparrows Point, owned by steelmaker Severstal North America, which announced last month that it would suspend operations for the rest of the year until the market improved.

The release said his administration would work with federal and state agencies to create rail and bus links between new enterprise zones at Woodlawn in the northwestern part of the county and Baltimore Crossroads, a mixed-use business park east of Middle River.

Holt said he would expand the county's offerings in vocational and what he's calling "career oriented education," designating certain schools to work more closely with businesses in developing courses and internships. Some of this is already being done, said Holt, and "I want to improve that linkage."

Holt said his administration would reorganize and expand the Department of Economic Development, and create new partnerships between private business and government agencies to cultivate new businesses in manufacturing and such new industries as cyber security, biotechnology and nanotechnology.

-Arthur Hirsch

Posted by Andy Rosen at 5:45 PM | | Comments (1)
Categories: In The Counties


Rehash ideas in this Issues release by Candidate Holt. The County uses enterprise zones and other tools already to assist business so nothing new here. Vocational education is well established priority in the County through several learning institutions and the County's Workforce Investment programs. So little new with this plan element. Missed by Holt is the critical need for the County to adopt planning principles that will meet the challenges for growth in urban places to provide live, work,recreation,shop locations. The County is like it or not a major urban place not a suburban community. Missed by Holt is the critical needs for neighbor development in Towson, Perry Hall, Catonsville, Pikesville, Arbutus to name a few core places to be anchors for the future building on the past. Missed was the clear need to build upon higher education institutions in the County as growth will depend on knowledge and retention of graduates and less on bricks and sticks development as the County has little raw land inside the URDL. So Mr. Holt's plan is merely a sketch on paper with no real vision. Not a reason to support the Candidate as one experienced in economic matters to move the County forward.

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Annie Linskey covers state politics and government for The Baltimore Sun. Previously, as a City Hall reporter, she wrote about the corruption trial of Mayor Sheila Dixon and kept a close eye on city spending. Originally from Connecticut, Annie has also lived in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, where she reported on war crimes tribunals and landmines. She lives in Canton.

John Fritze has covered politics and government at the local, state and federal levels for more than a decade and is now The Baltimore Sun’s Washington correspondent. He previously wrote about Congress for USA TODAY, where he led coverage of the health care overhaul debate and the 2010 election. A native of Albany, N.Y., he currently lives in Montgomery County.

Julie Scharper covers City Hall and Baltimore politics. A native of Baltimore County, she graduated from The Johns Hopkins University in 2001 and spent two years teaching in Honduras before joining The Baltimore Sun. She has followed the Amish community of Nickel Mines, Pa., in the year after a schoolhouse massacre, reported on courts and crime in Anne Arundel County, and chronicled the unique personalities and places of Baltimore City and its surrounding counties.
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