Local economic officials are working on an application to classify Glenmont as an enterprise zone, while delegates to the Maryland General Assembly have proposed legislation enabling Montgomery County to grant additional tax credits, in an effort to revitalize the Glenmont community.
“I grew up in the Wheaton-Glenmont communities, and it pains me to see the eyesore that the shopping center has become,” said Del. Ben Kramer, who proposed the bill at the suggestion of Montgomery County Council President Nancy Navarro. “This would bring life and vitality back to Glenmont," he said.
The application to make Glenmont an enterprise zone was submitted through the existing state measures, said Kramer. If approved, Glenmont would become the fourth enterprise zone in Montgomery County, after Wheaton, Takoma Park and Olde Towne.
The classification would provide tax breaks for businesses that relocate to Glenmont, and encourage redevelopment of the area, according to Kristina Ellis, communications manager of the Montgomery County Department of Economic Development.
“There is a potential for much better use of the area,” said Ellis. “This would be a clear advantage from a business perspective for the county. It would expedite the redevelopment of Glenmont, and make the area as developed as Rockville or Silver Spring.”
Supporters point to the successes in Wheaton since it was declared an enterprise zone in 1998.
Between 1998 and 2008, over $150 million was spent on development in Wheaton, and 840 jobs were created, according to Pete McGinnity, manager of the Wheaton Redevelopment Program. Since the Enterprise Zone was renewed in 2009, $2.2 million have been spent and there are ongoing projects that will use even more money.
“Being an enterprise zone has had a tremendous impact on Wheaton,” said McGinnity. “The Westfield development in particular took great advantage of it, and we expect it to continue.”
Tina Benjamin, director of Special Projects at the Montgomery County Department of Economic Development, said that the county is still working on its application to the state, due April 15. Once they apply, they expect to have to wait several months for notification, but they should know the result by the end of the summer.
At the same time, Kramer, Del. Sam Arora and Del. Bonnie Cullison--all of whom represent the 19th District in the General Assembly--have drafted a bill that would allow local governments to grant additional tax credits in an enterprise zone. According to Kramer, this legislation would lead to even further redevelopment.
“With this additional measure, Glenmont could become even more attractive to developers,” said Kramer. “Public investment is key to a successful redevelopment plan.”
Kramer said the bill has been sent to a Committee of Jurisdiction in both the State Senate and the House of Delegates, and the Montgomery County delegation remains hopeful it will pass.
“This measure, combined with making Glenmont an enterprise zone, could revitalize the entire community,” said Kramer. “This will be the basis of a renewed Glenmont."