During the past year, as your newly-elected councilman from District 4, I’m proud to say that we have made some progress in attracting greater economic opportunities to western Anne Arundel County. Progress can be measured by the improving retail and services in the area, as well as future growth plans.

For too long, the residents of west county waited for improved retail services in their community. However, the recent opening of the Giant grocery store has revitalized the Odenton Shopping Center, with additional retail forthcoming; and Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse has announced that it will open at the Village at Odenton Station later this year.

These are just some examples of how stakeholders are working together to bring opportunity in Odenton and to the surrounding area. While the entry of these nationally-known businesses is a strong indicator of the draw that the West County has, local startups, such as the Brown Box Eatery, also are a testament to small business growth in the community.

As you may know, Odenton has been a targeted growth area since 1972. The Odenton Town Center Master Plan is being updated to bring smart growth and transit-oriented development to West County. During the next few weeks, the Anne Arundel County Council will discuss, and approve, the Master Plan, which was created with the goal of instituting smart growth, reducing sprawl and improving public transportation.

The Master Plan needs to consider the historical sub-areas, manage future growth and make pedestrian access a priority, not an afterthought. Also key to the plan is that Fort Meade is the largest employer in the state of Maryland and will continue grow.

I have made it a priority to keep communication open with the leadership at Fort Meade and the surrounding communities. Together, we are making it known that there are opportunities in western Anne Arundel County.

Anne Arundel County Councilman Andrew Pruski serves District 4. He can be contacted at 410-222-1401, 410-222-6890 and andrew.pruski@aacounty.org.