Perryville adds former outlets site to enterprise zone
— The mayor and commissioners voted 3-1 Tuesday night to designate the former Perryville Outlets site as an enterprise zone.
Commissioner Michelle Linkey cast the lone dissenting vote on the resolution, saying she has a different vision for the site of the former outlet mall on Heather Lane.
“I think that would be a perfect place for a movie theater,” Linkey said after the vote was cast.
The location right off Interstate 95 would draw people in from elsewhere in Cecil County as well as from neighboring Harford County and Pennsylvania, she said.
The concept plans for the
former Woodlands development on Coudon Boulevard originally promised an entertainment center, including a movie theater, but that project collapsed in 2008.
As an enterprise zone, the 41-acre tract is now eligible for tax breaks from the town, the county and the state for a light industrial project.
“I’m not necessarily certain I want light industrial there,” Linkey said, adding it is too close to residential neighborhoods. “I’m afraid if we get light industrial, we won’t be able to do anything else.”
She also voiced concern that an industrial site would change the surrounding community.
The commissioners had tabled the original enterprise zone measure in October to give themselves time to consider including requests to add other properties to the designation, including Woodlands. However, on Tuesday night, the board voted to remove the table and approve the measure as originally introduced.
The Cecil County Council still has to approve the designation, something that will likely not happen until next year.
Perryville Outlets closed Oct. 1. Over the past decade, the center had degraded physically and dropped from 45 stores to just one in its final days. While the property is reportedly up for sale, it has not changed hands since being purchased in 2007 for almost $7.4 million.
Mayor Jim Eberhardt and Commissioners Robert Ashby and Alan Fox voted in favor of the measure. Commissioner Ray Ryan was ab- sent from the meeting.
In casting her dissenting vote, Linkey noted she is not against the designation itself.
“I did it for IKEA,” she said, referring to the vote that added that property to the designation.
The property that was Perryville Outlets has been designated by town officials as an enterprise zone, meaning the new developer would be eligible for tax breaks.