UPDATE: Easton Receives $1 Million Grant to Upgrade Commerce Par - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

UPDATE: Easton Receives $1 Million Grant to Upgrade Commerce Park

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BALTIMORE– The town of Easton received a $1 million conditional grant through the state for upgrades to the Talbot Commerce Park, the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development announced Wednesday. 

The project will extend public water and sewer service and finish access road improvements to the park’s 111 acres. The land is intended for light industrial uses such as warehousing, distribution, automotive services and offices. Easton annexed TCP in Oct. 2014 in order to extend these services into the park.

According to the DBED, businesses in TCP currently employ approximately 180 people. The project is expected to create an estimated additional 100 positions over the next five years. At least 51 percent of the new positions are geared toward low- and moderate-income workers.

Funding for the project is provided through the Community Development Block Grant Program, which is overseen by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The funding is handled locally by the DBED and the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development. The town of Easton also contributed $250,000, and Talbot County provided just over $144,000 to assist with project costs.  

“This is yet another example of the state, county and town working together to keep businesses within the town limits,” said Easton Mayor Robert Willey. “By providing town utilities, we ensure both business expansion and the creation of many new jobs.  The CDBG grant makes the project feasible and we look forward to continued support from DBED and DHCD on future endeavors.”

The biggest holdup businesses in the park face in expanding are septic fields.  On the current system, they have to set aside land for those septic fields, but now that they are switching over to regular sewer, that's no longer necessary, and there's a lot more usable land to expand on.

The fields of green in the TCP may soon be home to new businesses. Willey said the $1 million community development block grant will help greatly in the expansion of the businesses in the tech park.

"It's to allow businesses to expand and produce more jobs, and increase the business opportunities they may have," Willey said.

"It certainly gives all the businesses an opportunity to expand and to relocate their lot lines so if they wanted a secondary business or to subdivide their property, they now have the ability to do that," said owner of Aqua Pools Dan Bridges.

Aqua pools is on the edge of the business park, and Bridges wants to expand.

"My company also owns a number of car washes here on the shore.  The Carpool is owned by Aqua LLC as well.  We're looking to put another full service car wash here on the same property as our world headquarters," said Bridges.

And business expansions mean more jobs.  Over the next five years, over 100 additional jobs are expected to be created in this park.  Over half of those jobs will be going to low and moderate income workers.

Willey said business expansion and more jobs sounds pretty good to him.

"That means there are 100 folks who are going to have a regular paycheck, with long term employment.  The real estate market will benefit because these people will need someplace to live.  The money will just turn over in the town itself, the town and county."

Willey said the town isn't slowing down after this victory, they're just moving on to the next project.

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