Officials talk about new business initiatives at Fall Meeting
Mallinoff says things ‘look on the sunny side’
Charles County may have once been viewed as a sleepy community outside of Washington, D.C., but the Charles County Department of Economic Development is looking to change that — both with public and private help — as it described to attendees at its Fall Meeting Tuesday morning.
Things are changing: The county’s new com- prehensive plan has centralized all development to the north part of the county and Waldorf will become the county’s new urban center.
There are potential projects such as the Waldorf Civic Center proposed for the Old Washington Road corridor, along with beautification and street-scaping infrastruc- ture changes. There is also the potential for a new town center in the Waldorf Station area, courtesy of Greenberg Gibbons’ purchase of the property last week.
Growth is looking up for the county and its development, Econom- ic Development Direc- tor Darrell Brown said. There will be new jobs and opportunities culti- vated for business owners and employees.
“Our meeting today is about you and all of us,” Brown said. “Together, we can enhance the way we live.”
Charles County Administrator Michael Mallinoff said the county is moving in the same direction as its business future and is working with the department to set things up to match the county’s growth pace.
In the last year, the county has created a new Department of Rec- reation, Parks and Tourism, started to make infrastructure changes on Old Washington Road, hired Steve Kaii Zeigler as the director of the Planning and Growth Management depart- ment and hired Rhonda Weaver as its new county attorney.
These changes, along with the county’s Tri- ple-A bond rating, signals a new direction for Charles County, he said, and will make the county more attractive from a business perspective.
Overall, Mallinoff said, things are looking up.
“Look on the sunny side,” he said.
The county’s direction is set for the next five years with the economic development strategic plan given by the department. The county commissioners have also approved the department’s bylaws for an economic advisor y board, for which Brown said members are currently being selected.
The county government has given a clear indication they are behind the growth of business in the county, Brown said, by approvals of new strategies. They also sent a piece of legislation granting business tax credits to some business owners to the Southern Maryland delegation last week.
Jason Groth, the chief of Resource and Infrastructure Management in the county, said a big part of preparing for the county’s future development is creating new transit options with light rail and making sure the infrastructure is sustainable in the area with water and sewage for additional developments.
John Stevens, the chief of Capital Services for the department of Planning and Growth Management, said there are already “several roads that are underway” with improvements, including Old Washington Road. The county is also working on the completion of Western Parkway and has future improvements coming on Billingsley Road, he said.
Taylor Yewell, the department’s Waldorf Urban Redevelopment Corridor coordinator, said light rail and the state’s SMRT initiative would be a boost for the county’s business prospects. And the “street-scaping” on Old Washington Road will foster more open business and a walkable community.
“It informs private investors that the county is willing to spend,” he said. “It changes ever ything.”
The county, its roadways and new development will be things people “want to see,” Yewell said.