Sunday, March 16, 2008

Officials to break ground Monday on $477 million complex at APG to house Fort Monmouth's communications jobs

Army officials are scheduled to break ground Monday on a $477 million complex at Aberdeen Proving Ground that will house communications jobs that are relocating from Fort Meade. While the Asbury Park Press newspaper continues to report on efforts to prove the closing of the Fort Meade base is costing the government money instead of saving it, it appears APG will be getting ready for the 8,000 jobs expected to come nonetheless. The building will be for C4ISR: mission in command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, according to a Baltimore Sun story.

"The 1.5-million-square-foot facility, built by Whiting-Turner Contractors, should be ready for occupancy in the fall of 2010, a year ahead of the deadline for the completion of BRAC."

More construction at the 73,000-acre base will start this summer on a test and evaluation center as well as a comprehensive medical research unit, the story said.

Construction began three months ago on a 200-acre business and technology park known as GATE (Government and Technology Enterprise) that will include a 60,000-square-foot laboratory and an 80,000-square- foot office building, according to the Sun.

"The GATE project is part of an 'enhanced-use program,' a nationwide push by the Department of Defense to find new ways of financing maintenance and improvements on military installations during a time when the defense budget is being stretched to support combat operations overseas. Leasing the land helps pay for many of the other base upgrades.

"'One of the reasons we won BRAC is because APG has these lands available for lease,' said James C. Richardson, Harford's economic development director."

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

BRAC has already brought 500 new residents to Harford County

Harford County Executive David Craig told a crowd of 300 who attended last night's BRAC Town Hall meeting at the Aberdeen High School auditorium that 500 new residents have already come to Harford County as a result of BRAC, according to a report on abc2news.com. In addition, the story said:

"County officials told them that eight intersections near the Proving Ground will have to be improved, most of them along Rt. 40. Other roads that lead to the base, including Rt. 22, will have to be widened."

Officials said 8,000 new jobs would be moved from Fort Monmouth N.J. to Aberdeen Proving Ground. And, if the people who currently hold those jobs don't make the move, then there would be a lot of job openings at APG. They also said the sheriff's department staff would need to increase and the jail would need to be expanded. The county's water capacity would have to more than double by 2020.

"But Craig said Harford County residents will not be asked to pay for it all with an increase in their property taxes. 'We’re not anticipating an increase in taxes because of the capital improvements we need to make, or because of the operational improvements,' he said"

The story did not mention where the rest of the money would come from.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Big BRAC meeting coming up Monday, March 10

Transportation, schools and crime are among the topics expected to be covered during a BRAC town hall meeting scheduled 6:30 p.m. March 10 at the Aberdeen High School auditorium. A Baltimore Sun story reports speakers at the meeting are to include:

Also to be discussed are a transportation center near Aberdeen and road construction priorities and the new Homeland Security Magnet Program in Harford County schools.

The nationwide military base expansion could bring as many as 10,000 new jobs to Aberdeen Proving Ground within the next three years, according to the Sun story.

The meeting is free and open to the public. For more information, call the Harford County Office of Economic Development at 410-638-3059 or visit them on the web at www.harfordbusiness.org.