Governor Martin O'Malley today announced that the State has approved the designation, re-designation or expansion of five Enterprise Zones around Maryland, enabling the jurisdictions to provide businesses located within the zones with income tax and property tax credits to help create and retain jobs. The Zones include Allegany County-City of Cumberland; Hagerstown-Washington County; Pocomoke-Worcester County; Snow Hill-Worcester County; and Baltimore City. The latest data by the State Department of Assessment and Taxation shows that businesses in the State's 30 Enterprise Zones will receive property tax credits totaling $35.4 million in FY 2013. In turn this has contributed to $2.98 billion in capital investments over the past 10 years.
"I am pleased to approve these five Enterprise Zones, which will help create and retain jobs and make the State a more competitive location for doing business," said Governor O'Malley. "Enterprise Zones are an important tool to revitalize our urban and rural communities and are critical to the long-term fiscal, economic and social health of Maryland."
Baltimore City received approval to designate a 13,489-acre Zone including three Focus Areas. New areas in the Zone include the Reisterstown Station area, Gwynn's Falls, St. Agnes, Franklintown Road and West North Avenue extending the Zone downtown to Pratt Street. The three Focus Areas include the Jones Falls Focus Area, which includes commercial areas around Remington, Charles Village and the 25th Street Station Project; the OldTown Mall and the surrounding commercial area; and the industrial areas of Carroll-Camden, as well as the commercial areas of Poppleton and Hollins Market.
"Baltimore's Enterprise Zone and Focus Areas have been an important part of our efforts to attract and retain jobs and residents in Baltimore City," Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said. "These designations have laid an important foundation for new investment and economic growth in key areas throughout the City."
"The inclusion of long-distressed neighborhoods in Baltimore's newly designed Enterprise Zone represents a possible boon to these communities," said Baltimore City Council President Bernard C. "Jack" Young. "We need to ensure that we continue to support small businesses and encourage job growth. This newly expanded Enterprise Zone has the potential to accomplish both goals."
Cumberland received approval to renew its Gateway Enterprise Zone, which encompasses 7,121 acres and includes the downtown area, North Branch Industrial Park, Commerce Center, the former Kelly-Springfield plant and the former PPG facility. The renewal will help in the continued redevelopment of downtown Cumberland by promoting higher-wage professional occupations while maintaining and attracting additional manufacturing jobs.
"We are grateful to the State for recertifying Allegany County's Gateway Enterprise Zone," said Michael W. McKay, President, Allegany County Board of Commissioners. "This will allow the County and City of Cumberland to continue to incentivize a large geographic area for economic development purposes. This has been, and will continue to be, a great job creation tool for Allegany County."
Also approved for re-designation, as well as expansion, is Hagerstown-Washington County, which will add 2,499 acres for a total of 3,900 acres. Since the Zone was first designated in 1992, the County has been able to attract a number of companies, including Manpower Staffing, Phoenix Color and Lowe's. The expanded area includes the Hopewell Road area west of I-81 as well as acreage in and around the former Washington County Hospital location.
Expansion of the Zone will help the County and City of Hagerstown compete with neighboring states for companies and jobs.
"We thank the State for its approval of the zone as this is a great incentive tool to help our existing businesses to expand and new businesses to relocate here," said President of the Board of Washington County Commissioners Terry Baker.
"Governor O'Malley's decision to expand the Enterprise Zone will allow Washington County and the City of Hagerstown to help create even more economic development opportunities in the area."
"With the renewal of the Enterprise Zone, we've expanded the boundaries to include areas of the City that are in need of investment," said City of Hagerstown Mayor Robert E. Bruchey, II. "All businesses should become more familiar with this program so we can maximize its use. These are great incentives that should be highly considered for anyone who wants to grow their business."
Pocomoke-Worcester County received approval to designate a 1,037-acre Zone to include downtown Pocomoke, the Pocomoke Industrial Park and the riverfront area. Several existing local companies, including Hardwire LLC, H&H Furniture Company, Aurora and Bel-Art, were attracted to the area because of the Enterprise Zone benefits. The designation will help Pocomoke continue to incentivize commercial investments in areas that have struggled to attract new businesses, jobs and visitors.
"Re-establishing the Enterprise Zone in Pocomoke City is a strong tool in our arsenal to advance economic development and further Worcester County's reputation as having a business-friendly climate," said Commission President James C. "Bud" Church. "This designation helps focus local and state resources that foster business growth and development, leads to the creation of skilled jobs in economically distressed areas and results in a stronger local economy overall."
Also in Worcester County, the Town of Snow Hill received approval for a 179-acre Zone that includes all commercial and industrial property located within the town limits. The designation will help to revitalize Snow Hill's downtown area, which has lost a number of businesses in recent years due to the economic recession.
"We are delighted with Governor O'Malley's selection of Snow Hill as an Enterprise Zone", said Town of Snow Hill Mayor Charlie Dorman. "This is an important step for the retention of current businesses, attraction for future business and the potential to expand job opportunities."
The Department of Business and Economic Development approves the State's Enterprise Zones while local governments are responsible for their administration. Businesses operating within an Enterprise Zone may be eligible for a tax credit towards their state income tax filings based upon the number of new jobs created, and a tax credit on their local real property taxes based upon their overall capital investment into a property.