One new job created at Matapeake Industrial Park
KENT ISLAND — The Queen Anne’s County Commissioners have sent its second semi-annual grant report to the state regarding its job creation progress at the Matapeake Industrial Park, and since August only one job has been created.
The unskilled labor position created, according to the report, was at Michigan Mechanical.
To be in compliance with a Community Development Block Grant that began in April 2011, the county is required to create 60 jobs, of which 31 are required to be for low- to moderate-income individuals. To date, six full-time jobs have been created at the business park, all of which were to low- to moderate-income individuals.
CDBG grants are always tied with job creation.
The grant, originally worth $500,000, was extended to $575,000 for further infrastructure improvements at the county’s request. If the county is unable to create 54 more jobs by the Feb. 28 deadline given to the county, it could be subject to paying back the entirety of the grant amount.
County Administrator Gregg Todd said funds for potential repayment are available from the initial lot sales if neccesary.
The professional park is located off of Route 8 on Kent Island and is designated as priority funding area, zoned as Suburban Industrial.
In a letter last February, the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development, which is the agency that provided the CDBG grant, gave the county until Feburary 2017 come into compliance with the grant terms because a lack of jobs that had been created.
The first semi-annual grant report was sent to the state in August and stated one job had been created, bringing the total at the time to five.
The park is broken up into seven lots, two owned by the county and five by private businesses. The main reason the county has had trouble over the years getting in compliance is that, though the lots have been purchased, only two businesses have structures and operations.
The five companies owning lots are Michigan Mechanical, Chesapeake Wiper and Supply, Miltec, Commercial Carpet Logistics and Penguin Ventures, with Michigan Mechanical and Chesapeake Wiper and Supply the only two with structures.
The two lots owned by Queen Anne’s County are not planned for development purposes as they are envisioned to be used for forested buffers.
When the lots were initially sold, no clawback claus was created stipulating the businesses had to begin construction and operation in a certain timeframe, leaving the county with virtually no power to make them create jobs.
Through the county’s Business Reinvestment and Infrastructure Development Grant Enterprise (BRIDGE) that is funded through a portion of the county’s recordation tax, as well as its Economic Development Incentive Fund, future agreements would be vetted through those economic development tactics to ensure fallback provisions are created.
Todd said a meeting with officials from the Department of Housing and Community Development will be scheduled this month to review the county’s progress.
Follow Mike Davis on Twitter: @mike_kibaytimes.
Commercial Carpet Logistics, owners of Lot 3 at the Matapeake Industrial Park on Kent Island, have created a structure, making it the third company to do so. The other businesses with structures up at the park are Michigan Mechanical and Chesapeake Wiper and Supply.