Archives For History

Gov. Martin O’Malley presented on Tuesday $765,000 in matching grants to fourteen Maryland nonprofit and government entities in support of fifteen War of 1812 bicentennial projects.

“The War of 1812 in the Chesapeake and the writing of The Star-Spangled Banner are important chapters in our history as a state and as a nation,” said Gov. O’Malley. “I want to thank the grant recipient organizations for their commitment to telling this story and using these funds to invest in community revitalization, tourism development and job growth in Maryland.”

Star-Spangled 200 grantees celebrate Maryland Day at the State House.

Governor O’Malley and Star-Spangled 200 grantees celebrate Maryland Day at the State House.

The grants, supplemented by more than $2.5 million in matching funds, will support capital improvement, visitor experience, programming and education projects that expand economic development and tourism-related job creation throughout the State.

“From the kick off to this year’s Chesapeake Campaign in St. Mary’s County to the Bicentennial Living American Flag with 6,700 school children at the Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine, these grants will bring the bicentennial to life in 2014,” said Bill Pencek, executive director, Maryland War of 1812 Bicentennial Commission.

Continue Reading…

Executive Director of the Regional Economic and Studies Institute Dr. Daraius Irani shared his economic outlook.

Executive Director of the Regional Economic and Studies Institute Dr. Daraius Irani shared his economic outlook.

With a projected increase in holiday shopping and a recovering housing market, Maryland’s economic outlook has multiple positive highlights, according to Regional Economic Studies Institute Executive Director Dr. Daraius Irani.

Irani presented RESI’s findings during the 2013 Economic Outlook Conference, the organization’s premier event, held at Towson University last week.

Maryland reached a milestone in August, regaining 100 percent of the jobs lost during the recession—one of only 16 states to do so. Over the last year, statewide employment expanded 1.7 percent, the largest year-over-year growth rate since the start of the economic downturn five years ago. The professional and business services industry added 16,300 jobs to the economy over the last year, making it the state’s largest employment contributor, according to RESI.

Irani praised recent developments, including the planned Amazon facility in Southeast Baltimore, expected to create more than 1,000 full-time jobs, with wages at up to 30 percent more than the average retail job. “Not all of the jobs we create in our economy should require a Ph.D. or a masters degree. This presents some opportunities across the economic spectrum, as well as an excellent tuition reimbursement program to help workers pursue higher education,” he said.

Irani described the state’s housing market as “generally upbeat,” with home prices increasing by about $16,000 since the last year. Maryland building permits, which represent new construction, rose 12.9 percent between July and August, up 9.3 percent from the previous year.

He emphasized that recovery is ongoing nationally and at the state level and that overall consumer confidence historically remains low. He attributes much of the “lurch” in consumer confidence to party gridlock in Congress and the recent shutdown of the federal government. Still, RESI projects an increase in national holiday retail sales by 4 percent this year, welcome news for Maryland businesses that depend on a boost between November and December.

Irani light-heartedly added, “I encourage you all to go out and shop.”

Find a video of the presentation with additional data below:

Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development Secretary Dominick Murray presents a proclamation during MEDA's fall conference.

Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development Secretary Dominick Murray presents a proclamation during MEDA’s fall conference.

Looking to boost your community’s economy? Consider sprucing up the town’s welcome sign, organizing an outdoor farmers market or printing T-shirts with the town name on them.

These actions and more, shared during Tuesday’s Maryland Economic Development Association fall conference in Frederick, may not directly translate into new jobs, but the sense of place they create will help deliver sustainable long-term growth. Experts—ranging from a innovative mixed-use land developer to a social branding consultant—spoke on the importance of improving place to attract higher skilled workers, foster entrepreneurship and increase an area’s overall quality of life.

“Why would anyone invest in a city that doesn’t want to invest in itself?” asked keynote speaker Ed McMahon, Senior Fellow for Sustainable Development at the Urban Land Institute.

McMahon discussed the importance of basic aesthetics. “Every single day in America, people make decisions about where to live, where to work, where to retire, based almost entirely on what communities look like,” he said.

Frederick Mayor Randy McClement said he hoped the backdrop of his city would help inspire fellow community leaders to devote resources to place making.

Developing Frederick’s unique character has been a conscious ongoing effort for the city, which boasts a growing selection of restaurants, outdoor markets and festivals, following a sort of “Mayberry theme,” McClement said.

“You’ve got to find that niche, that thing people would want to come see, whether it’s that hometown charm we have here in Frederick, or maybe the excitement of more urban aspects. You need to find what’s good for you, but we can share the example of building on what you have,” he said.

Keasha Haythe, vice president of MEDA and Director of Economic Development of Dorchester City, said she hoped the conference would inspire fellow MEDA members to improve the perception of their own communities.

“Creating a sense of place is extremely important to economic development because that is what the residents and the business community draw on. That’s how they attract new investment,” Haythe said.

She praised MEDA for providing a platform to spread innovative ideas within the state’s business leadership community. “Events like this bring all the players together, the right policy makers and panelists and business leaders. Today was truly a great conference and we had a great turnout,” she said.

On behalf of Governor Martin O’Malley, Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development Secretary Dominick Murray presented a proclamation to MEDA, recognizing its support of Maryland’s third annual Economic Development Week.

“It’s such a pleasure to work with all of you as a team—we’ve got a tremendous team. All of us are dedicated to doing things that make Maryland a better place to live and work, it’s my honor and privilege to work with all of you,” Murray said.

A panel of experts discuss creating a sense of place  to promote growth in communities.

A panel of experts discuss creating a sense of place to promote growth in communities.

The longtime mantra of realtors, “location, location, location,” applies just as much to a community’s overall economic development, experts agreed during the Maryland Economic Development Association’s fall conference.

The conference, held Tuesday in Frederick and sponsored by the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development, made the case for “place making” as a tool for improving the social perceptions of a region’s assets.

So, how does that elusive sense of place impact economic development? Here are 10 takeaways from the conference’s expert lineup.

Continue Reading…

Baltimore, MD (July 3, 2013) – The Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development has made a $100,000 grant to support a mixed-use revitalization project by Seawall Development in Baltimore’s Remington neighborhood, Governor Martin O’Malley announced today. Using the grant made through the Brownfield Revitalization Incentive Program, Seawall will outfit a 21,770-square-foot building at 2600 North Howard with commercial space, a performance venue and a butcher shop and restaurant by Spike Gjerde, the celebrated chef and restaurateur behind Woodberry Kitchen and Artifact Coffee. The $3.8 million project is expected to be completed in December and will create 75 jobs over the next two years.

“Investing in communities like Remington is a sustainable and effective way to revitalize Maryland’s historic neighborhoods and support the arts that enrich Maryland’s culture,” said Governor O’Malley. “The redevelopment of 2600 North Howard will create jobs, serve as an anchor for future revitalization and development in Remington, and expand the thriving Station North Arts & Entertainment District.”

Continue Reading…

Baltimore, MD (June 27, 2013) – Governor Martin O’Malley today announced that the State, through the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development (DBED), has approved a $150,000 grant to the City of Hagerstown to fund the Hagerstown Revolving Loan Fund (HRLF). Hagerstown is actively pursuing opportunities to attract and retain businesses with a particular emphasis on business prospects for vacant buildings and redevelopment areas including the former Unilever plant, the former Cascade building, the Harrison Land Tracts, East End Redevelopment, and downtown redevelopment. As part of a One Maryland jurisdiction, the City of Hagerstown will provide $75,000 in matching funds.

“The State is pleased to support the City of Hagerstown’s Revolving Loan Fund, which is a critical tool to help create and retain jobs,” said Governor O’Malley. “We look forward to continuing to work with our partners in Hagerstown to spur development and provide the resources needed for businesses to grow and thrive.”

Continue Reading…

Domino Sugar

Domino Sugar is an iconic Maryland-made product.

Towson University radio station WTMD 89.7 recorded the sweet sounds of Domino Sugar in a recent edition of its “Made in Maryland” series.

The company’s large neon sign has become such an iconic part of Baltimore’s skyline, some passersby don’t realize it represents an active plant, according to the segment.

The company, however, continues to thrive, producing 14 percent of the sugar in the United States and employing 500 people at the Baltimore plant, operations manager Stu FitzGibbon said in the segment.

Continue Reading…

Maryland's Best

Maryland’s Best offers an updated listing of farmers markets.

Finding your closest farmers market is easier than ever.

The Maryland Department of Agriculture released on Friday its updated map and database of the state’s 131 farmers markets. The Maryland’s Best website now includes extensive, searchable information on market locations, hours, producers, vendors and product listings. A paper version of the 2013 Maryland Farmers’ Market Directory will also available in mid-May from MDA’s Marketing Division in Annapolis.

“The best sign that spring is really here is the opening of Farmer’s Market and they begin opening this weekend,” Secretary of Agriculture Buddy Hance said in a statement. “Customers can enjoy some of the freshest and best tasting local products at Farmers Markets while directly supporting our family farmers. Every dollar spent on local agricultural products contributes to the economic health of the community, keeps our land in farming, and helps to support a smart, green and growing future for Maryland agriculture.”

The department pointed to significant recent growth in the popularity of farmers markets. It stated, “In 1991, there were only 20 markets; there were 88 in 2008; 128 last year; and there will be 131 this year. In its 2009 Policy Choices Survey, the University of Baltimore Schaefer Center for Public Policy found that 77 percent of Marylanders want to buy produce that is identified as having been grown by a Maryland farmer.”

About 400 Maryland farmers are also benefitting from a grant program which allows eligible women, infants, children and seniors to use more than $400,000 in prepaid checks at Maryland farmers markets, according to the department.

Maryland’s three casinos generated  $58,048,394 in March, with more than 75 percent of total revenue coming from Maryland Live! Casino in Hanover, the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency announced.

  • Maryland Live! Casino generated $44,613,545 in March, about $348 per slot machine, per day.
  • Hollywood Casino Perryville, which carries both slot machines and table games, generated  $9,486,110 in March, about $225 per slot machine, per day, $3,659 for banking table games and $1,296.94 for non-banking table games.
  • The Casino at Ocean Downs generated $3,948,739 in March, about $159 per slot machine, per day.

Maryland Live! Casino hopes to further increase revenue by introducing table games, which are planned to debut on April 11.

The Baltimore Business Journal reported March’s total revenue as record breaking, as the previous high was $48 million in July 2012.

Additional charts and figures on Maryland’s casinos are available here.

Baltimore Lexington Market

Renovations are planned at Baltimore’s historic Lexington Market. Credit: Downtown Partnership of Baltimore

Baltimore’s historic Lexington Market is slated for a $25 million facelift, and is seeking proposals from teams of consultants, architects, engineers and others on how to improve the space, the Baltimore Business Journal reports.

The market’s update will open new opportunities for vendors and is expected to attract a wider customer base. The Maryland landmark has housed sellers since 1782.

Proposals are due by 5 p.m. on July 12, and contracts for the redesign will be awarded on Sept. 2. More information on submitting proposals is available on the market’s website.

The request for proposal expresses the market board’s desire to raise the market’s regional profile. It states: “Lexington Market seeks to transform into a regional attraction. Towards the goal of a regional attraction, the consulting team should make recommendations that will serve to attract visitors and residents of the Mid-Atlantic region.”

How would you renovate the space? Share your ideas for raising Lexington Market’s profile in the comments.

Maryland Day isn’t usually celebrated with a blanket of wet snow, but at least it’s an excuse to curl up with a steaming bowl of Maryland crab soup.

European settlers first landed on the Province of Maryland on March 25, 1634, and 379 years later, the area has drawn millions from around the globe.

In honor of Maryland Day, we’ve rounded up 10 reasons why it’s great to live and work in the “Old Line State.” Note: this list is best enjoyed with “Maryland, My Maryland” playing in the background, which shares its tune with “O Christmas Tree. Continue Reading…

Renovations inside Senator Theatre. Used with permission.

Renovations inside Senator Theatre. Used with permission.

The Senator Theatre has been closed since April 2012 for major renovations. Today, owners of the theater posted some snapshots on their Facebook page of the work in progress. From what can be seen, the work is extensive, showing the main auditorium stripped of seating and sporting scaffolding. Other photos show work progressing on additions to the building which will house three more screening rooms.

There is no specific reopening date announced. The theater’s owners will say only that they are aiming at “late spring – probably May” of 2013.

Recently, The Sun’s Jacques Kelly wrote about the progress of the renovations:

The sight of a few ladders outside the Senator Theatre did not prepare me for the scope of the restoration project that is transforming this Govans-Belvedere Square landmark, a Baltimore treasure being taken apart and reassembled. There will be three newly constructed boutique theaters, too, making a four-screen complex.

The $3.5 million infusion of much-needed capital improvements comes not a minute too soon. The 1939 movie house is a favorite address of many film fans, but let’s face it: The beloved Senator was shabby. It took the city and state to come to the financial rescue of the beleaguered but grandly surviving picture house.

You can read the full article here.