Looking for work, Baltimore hires an image maker

June 24, 1993|By Ross Hetrick | Ross Hetrick,Staff Writer

Hoping to make Baltimore more attractive to manufacturers, the city hired a Silver Spring economic development company yesterday to take stock of both its virtues and drawbacks and figure out a way to sell itself.

"It will look at the opportunities and where the gaps are," said Honora M. Freeman, president of the Baltimore Development Corp., the city's quasi-government development agency.

The Baltimore Board of Estimates approved the $100,000 contract yesterday with Hammer, Siler, George Associates Inc. The study will assess the city's manufacturing sector, analyze national and local trends, detail strategies used in other areas and formulate plans for the city, Ms. Freeman said.

The study, to be managed by the BDC, is scheduled to be completed by December.

Ms. Freeman said the project was an outgrowth of the Mayor's Economic Incentive Task Force and discussions between Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke and city-based manufacturers over the past six months.

"We talked about doing such a study, and the reception was very positive," Ms. Freeman said about the discussions.

She said the study does not represent an increased emphasis on manufacturing by the city.

Rather, "we've always had a focus on that," Ms. Freeman said.

With its headquarters in Silver Spring, Hammer, Siler, George Associates also has offices in Washington, Atlanta and Denver, said Robert W. Siler Jr., chairman and chief executive of the company.

The 39-year-old company has conducted economic development studies for regions around Atlanta, Norfolk, Va., and Washington, Mr. Siler said.

The Economic Incentive Task Force, chaired by a real estate developer, Bill Struever, was created eight months ago to study how to create a better business environment in Baltimore. Its findings are due next month.

One of the offshoots of the task force has been the creation of the Economic Advisory Council to advise Mayor Schmoke on economic development issues.

The 30-member council is headed by Frank P. Bramble Sr., president and chief executive of MNC Financial Inc. It includes many of the city's business leaders. Among them are James A. Block, president of Johns Hopkins Health System and Hospital; Edward A. Crooke, president of Baltimore Gas & Electric Co., and Anthony W. Deering, president of the Rouse Co.

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