by Lisa Tome
Chris Moyer is making the rounds in Cecil County.
Moyer, Cecil's Economic Development Director for four months, is working to learn the towns and county and finding ways for them to collaborate.
The Harford County native drove the I-95 corridor for a decade while working for MBNA. He then worked in economic development for the Baltimore Development Corporation. "I came in at a great time. It has exceeded my expectations. It's been a fun, fun ride for four months. (County executive) Alan McCarthy has given me a long leash. I am working to get out in front with the business community and working and work on (economic) growth for the county. We have a lot going on and I'm trying not to screw it up," said Moyer.
Deals with Lidl for a huge warehouse on Route 40, Amazon with a warehouse in Principio, and TruAire also at Principio, mostly were in play before Moyer took over. "I see those every day. Along with the natural gas lines coming in on Route 40. Cecil County is open for business," said Moyer. "The executive is being aggressive with the infrastructure - natural gas and we're working with Artesian. We need to use our resources and get it all on line."
When it comes to the towns, he's continuing to meet with mayors and town officials in an effort to have plans in place.
"Cecilton has a lot of strengths. It's a great area for people to live. It's attractive residential and it's not in the growth corridor. We're not getting Amazon there," he said.
"I boated in Chesapeake City back in the day. They have a strong downtown and a microbrewery coming. We need to leverage its strengths. We need to bring more retail to there but not chains," he said.
Moyer is mindful of Elkton Mayor Rob Alt's plan to bring a sportsplex to that town. "We need to get Big Elk Mall leased out.
Elkton is important to the county. The town and county are working together," he said.
"North East is similar to Chesapeake City. They have a great sense of downtown. North East is extremely important. It's the crossroads of the county," Moyer said.
"Perryville is the sister city to Havre de Grace. We need more services and businesses there. We've worked to get the Enterprise Zone (at the former outlet center). The interest there is industrial and distribution oriented. We're talking to a few different brokers now," he said. "Route 40 is not the downtown. I'm surprised there is not more in the downtown."
Moyer met with Port Deposit Mayor Wayne Tome within the last two weeks. "Mayor Tome gave me a great tour...Bainbridge has a lot going for it. Bainbridge needs a large industrial user. We need to figure out how to get things built there. It's poised for growth and that's going to happen on my watch."
"With Charlestown, I need to get down there and do more. But our team meets weekly and we want to meet in each town and talk about partnerships. We're not the big, bad bureaucracy. These towns are a unique asset," he said.
"Rising Sun reminds me of Cecilton. It's a bedroom community. But there's services and retail there. I met with a developer about bringing more retail there. Some retailers would be great for the north half of the county," he said.
Other priorities for Moyer include expanding the current job base and building more jobs with companies such as Terumo, Gore, and Orbital ATK. "We need to expand our horizons from distribution to manufacturing for higher paying jobs. It's not a huge jump. It's just more pay and more skills," he said.
"For economic growth you need three things, residents, retailers, and jobs," he said.