Nonprofit group slated for Fort Ritchie

January 17, 1997


Staff Writer

The Washington County Commissioners plan to create a nonprofit PenMar Development Corp. to oversee development at Fort Ritchie once the Army turns the site over to the county in October 1998, officials said Thursday.

The details haven't been worked out, said Commissioner Ronald L. Bowers, the commissioners' representative on the Fort Ritchie Local Redevelopment Authority.

Bowers said the commissioners plan to study other, similar development corporations, including the Baltimore Economic Development Corp. and the Maryland Economic Development Corp., to avoid any potential pitfalls.


According to a memo from consultant Ellen Baer discussed at a County Commissioners' work session Thursday, the corporation could own and develop the Fort Ritchie site.

The corporation could have a board of directors appointed by the commissioners, the memo said. The county would retain some control through zoning and land disposition agreements.

Creating the corporation could insulate the county from some risks of ownership, according to the memo.

The corporation could retain control over personnel, land transactions and operational contracts, the memo said.

The corporation also could be responsible for managing marketing efforts and raising money for redevelopment. It would be the contact point with the Army regarding future funding and any long-term cleanup needs.

State, federal and county governments would be tapped for capital funding and initial operating support.

In order to create the company, the commissioners would propose state legislation to create it as a successor to the Local Redevelopment Authority. The commissioners would approve a charter for the corporation and specify the qualifications and jurisdictions of board members.

Bowers said he would like legislation creating the corporation to be passed during this Maryland General Assembly session and for the corporation to be functioning by Labor Day.

The redevelopment authority had considered three different development possibilities for the fort - a vacation home resort, a corporate training/conference campus or a high-tech office park.

Bowers said the vacation home option has been rejected and the authority is working on a combination of the corporate training/conference campus and high-tech office park.

Bowers said it might make sense to create a PenMar water and sewer subdistrict in the Fort Ritchie area to possibly take advantage of grants available because of the base closing.

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