Business organization regroups, changes name

January 27, 1995|By Mary Gail Hare | Mary Gail Hare,Sun Staff Writer

The Freedom District Business Association has been revived and renamed.

After an organizational meeting in October, the association elected officers and planned a membership drive -- both aimed at redefining the mission of the moribund organization.

About 30 members and potential members met Wednesday at Reflections Restaurant on Liberty Road. The first order of business was a nearly unanimous vote to change the name of the 18-year-old organization to the South Carroll Business Association.

"We have never been away, only hibernating," said President Ben C. Rogers Wednesday. "We decided to get going again."

Ken Holniker, one of several association founders said "Freedom District" no longer reflects the diversity of businesses, which have come to the South Carroll area.

"Most of the founders are no longer active in the association or even living here," said Mr. Holniker, an attorney and developer. "The demographics have also changed drastically. Let's correct the stationery and get going."

Mr. Rogers, Eldersburg branch manager of Carroll County Bank and Trust Co., said the new name "is more reflective of the area we serve or the area we are servants of."

About 20 years ago, South Carroll "was literally just an intersection" at Routes 32 and 26, said Lee Primm, senior vice president of the bank, which operated a small branch office, just south of that intersection. It moved about 10 years ago to a new 2800-square-foot building on Liberty Road. In a few months, the branch will move again north of the intersection to a building more than three times that size.

"This community is growing and requires expansion," Mr. Primm said.

Mr. Rogers wants the business association to match that growth.

"The association can be whatever we make of it," he said. "We can work as a team."

In an area, which has no town government, a business association can be a "strong voice in the community," said Teresa Daytner, a certified public accountant and association treasurer.

"We could be the spokesperson for the largest group in the county," said Daniel H. Green, vice-chairman. "As a power focal point, we can get the views of this area made known. We could have a loud voice."

The association has historically been involved in many activities along the Liberty Road corridor, most notably the Freedom Fun Days, a two-day event, which benefited the Sykesville-Freedom Volunteer Fire Department. Two years ago, scheduling and location problems forced the cancellation of the 15-year-old festival, which marked the traditional end of summer for many South Carroll families.

"We can revive Fun Days, if that is what we want to do," Mr. Rogers said.

He said he is "glad to see the organization coming back to life" and would like to enroll more members. Dues are $25 a year.

The first speaker, Neil Ridgely, of the county landscape and forest conservation office, offered the group ideas to improve aesthetics along the Liberty Road.

"Take an inventory, set objectives and then go for immediate results," Mr. Ridgely said. "Clean up, spruce up and plant up."

He left the group several plans and contacts to help with the revitalization. Mr. Rogers asked members to consider the suggestions.

"Everyone has a talent to bring to our table," he said. "Let's get ourselves up and running. We all know the potential this area has. We have to pull together and make something of it."

Before members returned to their businesses, Mr. Holniker called for an exchange of business cards.

"I want more business, and this association can do it for me," he said. "Wherever we can, we should all use the businesses that belong to the association. Everything we need is right here in South Carroll."

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