Holt Releases BaltCo Economic Development Platform

October 19, 2010

Republican Baltimore County executive candidate Kenneth C. Holt has released a 7-point economic development program designed to “expand career choices” for county residents, according to a statement released by the campaign.

The statement released by Holt, a Kingsville investments executive who is running against Democratic Councilman Kevin Kamenetz in the Nov. 2 general election, proposes continuing efforts already being pursued by the county’s Department of Economic Development and includes new initiatives.

“I’m trying to articulate a vision,” Holt said in an interview. “I’m not saying these are exclusive, I’m not saying the Department of Economic Development doesn’t have good ideas. They do.”

The freshest proposals call for programs Holt has advocated in public forums and in interviews, including a Negro League Baseball Museum and a performing arts center on Liberty Road, and promoting “agritourism” along the lines of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania and the wine regions of California.

A senior vice president with Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, Holt said he wants to create more county “enterprise zones,” or districts identified as needing help in boosting business. Such zones now exist in the southeast and southwest ends of the county, where businesses moving there can be eligible for county and state tax credits.

Holt, a former one-term member of the Maryland House of Delegates, said he would expand the concept to include more regions and specific sites, such as the Solo Cup plant and Shire Pharmaceuticals, both in Owings Mills and both slated to close in 2012 with a combined loss of about 700 jobs. He said he would add an enterprise zone at the industrial complex of Sparrows Point, owned by steelmaker Severstal North America, which announced last month that it would suspend operations for the rest of the year until the market improved.

The release said his administration would work with federal and state agencies to create rail and bus links between new enterprise zones at Woodlawn in the northwestern part of the county and Baltimore Crossroads, a mixed-use business park east of Middle River.

Holt said he would expand the county’s offerings in vocational and what he’s calling “career oriented education,” designating certain schools to work more closely with businesses in developing courses and internships. Some of this is already being done, said Holt, and “I want to improve that linkage.”

Holt said his administration would reorganize and expand the Department of Economic Development, and create new partnerships between private business and government agencies to cultivate new businesses in manufacturing and such new industries as cyber security, biotechnology and nanotechnology.

-Arthur Hirsch

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