Princess Anne gets OK for an enterprise zone

December 24, 1992|By William Thompson | William Thompson,Staff Writer

PRINCESS ANNE -- The state Department of Economic and Employment Development has approved a request by Princess Anne officials to create an enterprise zone in their town, boosting hopes that the Somerset County seat can provide badly needed jobs for its unemployed.

"Anything to encourage new business is good news," Johanna Volandt, the Princess Anne town manager, said yesterday. "Any town that wants to be progressive wants to establish an enterprise zone."

The new enterprise zone, the first in Somerset County and the 18th in the state, allows local officials to lure businesses to the area by offering property tax credits in exchange for investments in the community.

The Princess Anne enterprise zone is being hailed as unique in Maryland because it includes the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, an on-site facility that potential employers could use as a resource.

ZTC "That's kind of a new twist on things and fits right in with the effort to establish partnerships with business and universities," said DEED spokeswoman Mary Lou Baker.

UMES has offered to provide technical assistance -- particularly in the fields of agriculture and aquaculture -- to new companies that move to the Princess Anne zone, said Ms. Volandt. The enterprise zone also gives county, town and UMES officials an opportunity to work together to lower the county's 7.2 percent unemployment rate.

"It's about time we worked together to do that," said Ms. Volandt.

She said the enterprise zone should help local officials market the town as an attractive location for light industry. So far, there have been no takers.

"Nothing yet, but we keep hoping," she said.

DEED also announced yesterday that existing enterprise zones in Baltimore and in Prince George's, Washington and Wicomico counties had been renewed for 10 years. The Princess Anne enterprise zone designation is also for 10 years.

Last year, local governments granted $3 million in property tax credits for new investments within the state's enterprise zones, DEED said. The state reimburses local governments for their 50 percent share of the tax credits. In order to qualify for an enterprise zone designation from DEED, areas must be among the poorest in the state.

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