Editor's Note: County Councilman David Marks submitted the following opinion editorial as a letter to the editor.
Perry Hall is like many communities. As shopping centers and grocery stories opened throughout Perry Hall, they diverted customers away from some of the oldest parts of the community.
Perry Hall Square, for example, is one of the oldest shopping centers in northeastern Baltimore County. Built in 1964, it occupies the corner of Belair and Ebenezer Roads. Over the years, the shopping center has lost all its original tenants except for the bowling alley. Many of the businesses I remember from my childhood—Village Sub, Woolworth’s and even a short-lived movie theater—are gone.
As a County Council member, I will do whatever I can to nurture businesses and create jobs. I particularly want to jumpstart the revitalization of Perry Hall’s older commercial area. One of the ideas I am considering is legislation to create a revitalization district in the heart of Perry Hall.
Under this legislation, a commercial revitalization zone would be created along Belair Road, extending from Blakeley Avenue in the south to Minte Drive in the north. The revitalization zone would also extend on Joppa Road from Seven Courts Drive to Belair Road, and on Ebenezer Road from Belair Road to Yvonne Avenue.
The Perry Hall Commercial Revitalization District would be the 14th of its type in Baltimore County.
Once established, businesses in this district would be eligible for loans and other assistance. Business owners could qualify for interest-free loans to improve their properties. They could participate in an Architect-On-Call program that offers up to 10 free hours of professional architectural design services. They could also participate in the Small Business Loan Partnership, which provides real estate, fixed-asset and working capital loans through a partnership between Baltimore County and the area's leading financial institutions.
Over the coming weeks, I will be meeting with area businesses to gauge their support for this concept. This revitalization district would not be a cure-all for all the difficulties businesses face. It might, however, provide some help as we work to strengthen the heart of Perry Hall.
County Councilman David Marks