Baltimore County is a finalist in the national 2005 Excellence in Economic Development Awards.
The Eastern Baltimore County Renaissance Initiative is one of 21 finalists up for the award to be presented later this month by The Economic Development Administration. The administration was established in 1965 to generate and retain jobs and stimulate growth in economically distressed areas of the country.
Baltimore County's initiative was nominated in the "Excellence in Urban or Suburban Economic Development" category. The initiative started 10 years ago when county and the Chamber of Commerce officials studied the impact of declines in manufacturing jobs, increase in crime and loss of population. Working with other elected officials, the private sector and the community, Baltimore County developed a plan to turn around the negative trends.
"I am so pleased that the federal government has recognized what we in Baltimore County already know. Revitalization is thriving in the Eastern part of the county," said congressman C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger, D-Maryland, in a prepared release put to announce the finalist selection. Ruppersberger was Baltimore County Executive when the initiative began.
The plan involves acquiring and revitalizing deteriorated World War-II era rental housing. Another 5,000 new housing units are under construction or planned for the area. According to his release, the $60 million state and county-funded extension of MD 43 is expected to open for traffic in early 2006 providing direct access from Interstate 95 to 1,000 acres of undeveloped land zoned for office and industrial use. That is expected to make possible more than $500 million of private investment and generate 10,000 jobs for two new business parks: Baltimore Crossroads @95 and Windlass Run Business Park, according to the release.
Last year, a Maryland entrant - the Maryland Venture Fund - took home the Excellence in Economic Development award after being nominated in the "Excellence in Innovation" category. The Maryland Venture Capital Fund is a state-sponsored venture capital program, established in 1994 and designed to make direct equity investments in early stage, high technology companies in Maryland.