Latest News From The Business Monthly

Anne Arundel County Supporting Revitalization Efforts

Since 2015, the Anne Arundel County Economic Development Corp. (AAEDC) has approved approximately $455,780 in loans to 12 businesses through its Arundel Community Reinvestment (ACR) Fund. The ACR Fund offers loans up to $100,000 to be repaid over three to seven years at 0% interest. Loans are limited to 90% of total project costs.

In addition, during the last three years, nine businesses received a total of almost $125,000 in tax credits through Anne Arundel County’s Community Revitalization Tax Credit program. Qualified business owners may receive a property tax credit for up to five years equal to the incremental increase in real property tax assessment for improvements of at least $100,000 of assessed value.
The program is designed to spur economic activity, investment and improvement in Anne Arundel County’s eight Commercial Revitalization districts, which include the area at inner West Street in Annapolis from Church Circle to Chinquapin Round Road, and the county’s one state-designated Enterprise Zone in Brooklyn Park.

Howard County Opens Second Phase of Blandair Park

Howard County Executive Allan Kittleman was joined by county, state and local representatives at a ribbon-cutting on Saturday, March 10, to mark the opening of the second phase of Blandair Park, in Columbia. Following the ribbon-cutting, Kittleman threw out the first pitch for a 14U baseball game.

The newest section of Blandair Park includes a challenge course specifically designed for teens and adults, five tennis courts, a pavilion/shade structure, two synthetic turf baseball fields with shaded bleacher seating, restroom facilities, an open green space and a new parking lot.
In addition, this phase of the project included the realignment of Oakland Mills Road from north of Kilimanjaro Road to east of Shadow Fall Terrace. New ramps from eastbound Route 175 (Rouse Parkway), two roundabouts, driveway extensions, entrance parking lots and concrete sidewalk were constructed as part of this construction project.
Cost of construction of the park’s phase two was $7.4 million; the road relocation and ramp connections to Route 175 cost $6.4 million.

Schuh, Arlotto Announce New School Safety Measures

Anne Arundel County Executive Steve Schuh, Board of Education President Julie Hummer, Superintendent George Arlotto and Police Chief Tim Altomare have announced funding the county will propose to protect the school system’s more than 82,000 students from harm.
The $14.8 million proposal will fund the following.
  • 20 additional school resource officers (SROs), enough to station one at every county high school and middle school
  • More than 1,500 cameras for schools
  • Lock upgrades for 4,000 doors in county schools
  • Double-door security systems at all high schools
  • Protective tactical equipment for every school
The plan would be funded over two years. The county expects that some of the costs of these initiatives will be defrayed by state funds.
Arlotto also announced that the school system will reinstitute its School Safety and Security Council. The council is composed of school, county, law enforcement and community officials, as well as parents and students. The superintendent also announced schools will be asked to make space available for patrol officers to use on down time in between calls, so that those officers can provide additional presence in the county’s 120-plus school facilities.

HCPSS Board of Education Selects Mission Road Site for High School No. 13

The Howard County Public School System (HCPSS) Board of Education has voted to move forward with the Mission Road site for high school No. 13. The board directed staff to complete the land acquisition for the purposes of constructing the new high school, which is slated to open in 2023.
The Mission Road site is located at 8601 Route 1 in the Chase Land Subdivision and is approximately 77 acres in size. The site can accommodate an elementary and high school campus to serve future HCPSS student population growth, in addition to recreation and parkland with a water tower. Howard County Government is in the process of acquiring this property under an MOU negotiated in May 2016.
Construction is scheduled to start in December 2019 and be completed by September 2023. The total estimated project cost for high school No. 13 is $124 million.
The board also considered Troy Park as a site for the high school, but now will direct staff to continue the steps to land bank portions of the park for use of a future school. The board’s review included considerations such as air quality testing, an environmental assessment and student travel time. In anticipation of the site selection, the board reviewed a report on Feb. 8 and held a public hearing on Feb. 22.
Howard Bank

Howard Bancorp Completes Acquisition of First Mariner Bank

Howard Bancorp has completed the acquisition of First Mariner Bank. With the transaction finalized, the combined Howard team will immediately begin to implement plans for the integration of the former First Mariner’s staff, branches and systems and will relocate its corporate headquarters from Ellicott City to First Mariner’s headquarters in Baltimore City’s Canton neighborhood.
The combined organization, which will conduct business under the Howard Bank name, will operate 21 locations in the Greater Baltimore Metropolitan Area. New signage will be installed immediately at all First Mariner branch and mortgage locations.
As a result of the merger, the relocation and a strong history of both organic growth and prior acquisitions, Howard Bank is now the largest bank based in Baltimore. This acquisition brings and retains approximately 160 employees in the city.
The transaction enables Howard Bank to expand benefits, training and advancement opportunities and access to share ownership for all continuing employees. It also provides Howard Bank with the scale to increase its combined community philanthropy budget. In 2017, Howard organically grew assets by 12% to $1.15 billion, total loans by 14% to $937 million, total commercial loans by 21% to $360 million, total deposits by 7% to $864 million and total common shareholders’ equity by 53% to $132 million.

Princeton Sports Announces Closing of Its Columbia Location

After 36 years, Princeton Sports is closing its Columbia location. Alan Davis, company president, said that the 17,000-square-foot building has been sold and that the inventory, store fixtures and equipment will be liquidated and that Princeton Sports will consolidate its business to the Falls Road location in Baltimore.
On Thursday, March 8, at 10 a.m., the Columbia Princeton Sports location will begin its closing sale. Princeton Sports, a third-generation, family-owned and -operated company, was founded by bike enthusiasts Samuel and Lucille Davis in Baltimore City, who rented and repaired bikes for local residents. They ran the business until 1963 when, upon Samuel’s death, his son, Sonny Davis, took over. He introduced skiing to the merchandise mix and expanded the company in 1981 to Columbia, where Princeton Sports has occupied its iconic building on Little Patuxent Parkway.

HCLS Announces Kennon as New President/CEO

The Howard County Library System (HCLS) Board of Trustees has announced Tonya Kennon as HCLS’s next president and CEO. Kennon joins HCLS following a career in libraries in California and will start her new position on April 23. She succeeds Valerie Gross, who retired in August after 16 years with HCLS.
Kennon has been director of Riverside Public Library since 2011. A municipal library system, Riverside is composed of a main library and seven branches serving a city of 314,000 people. As director, she worked to secure unanimous City Council approval to construct a new $40 million main library (breaking ground this year), convinced 85% of voters to approve a library parcel tax measure, secured a 20% increase in grant revenue and implemented 100% privately-funded STEM Makerspaces at all library locations, among other accomplishments.

Live! Casino Selects Trilogy Spa Holdings as Management Partner

Live! Casino & Hotel has selected award-winning boutique spa management company Trilogy Spa Holdings to manage the luxury Live! Spa, part of the flagship Live! Hotel opening this spring. The Live! Spa will provide hotel guests, casino visitors and day guests an escape to relax and recharge.
The facility, featuring five treatment rooms, will offer a variety of massage therapies, body polishes, body wraps along with advanced skin care and anti-aging treatments. Phoenix-based Trilogy Spa Holdings also operates spas at Red Rock Resort & Casino in Las Vegas, the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess in Arizona and the Spa of Colonial Williamsburg.

Howard Health Department to Partner With Grassroots

The Howard County Health Department and Grassroots Crisis Intervention Center have announced a new partnership to provide substance use screenings and referrals to treatment. The new connection was made possible with state funding received by the Health Department to help combat the opioid crisis.

Under the new agreement, Grassroots will increase its capacity to provide in-person screening to adults, youth and families dealing with substance misuse issues, aided by the technical assistance, training and community promotion provided by the Health Department. Walk-in crisis assistance is available at Grassroots’ Freetown Road facility, in Columbia, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily. The location is accessible by public transportation.

A counselor will screen clients using a method called Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT), an evidence-based method to identify individuals at risk, link them to treatment services in the community and assist them in removing barriers to getting treatment.

Individuals and families in Howard County seeking assistance with behavioral health or shelter crises should contact Grassroots at 800-422-0009/410-531-6677 or visit www.grassrootscrisis.org. For help with substance use disorder treatment resources, contact the Howard County Health Department at 410-313-6202 or visit www.hchealth.org/GetHelp.

$2.4M Awarded to Combat Homelessness in Anne Arundel County

Anne Arundel County was awarded $2.43 million in competitive federal funding to end homelessness. The award, which was granted to the county from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) through the nationally competitive Continuum of Care (CoC) program, will support 14 different ongoing projects working to provide permanent supportive housing for homeless individuals and families in Anne Arundel County and the City of Annapolis.

The projects funded will provide 175 units of stable, affordable housing to the county’s most vulnerable homeless individuals and families. “Over the last decade, we have been able to increase the funding available to the county by approximately 44%, and every dollar is working toward our goal of ending homelessness,” said Kathleen Koch, executive director of Arundel Community Development Services.

The majority of CoC funds will provide permanent supportive housing for chronically homeless individuals — that is, individuals who have been on the street for a long time and who may have mental health, physical health or substance abuse disorders. One such program is the Safe Haven II program, which is operated by Arundel House of Hope.

A portion of the CoC award will support Catholic Charities’ Rapid Re-Housing Program, helping homeless families quickly locate housing in the community to avoid being on the streets with their children. Other service and shelter providers funded by the CoC include the Mental Health Agency, Arundel House of Hope, People Encouraging People and the Housing Commission of Anne Arundel County.