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RISE Zones designed to spur economic development and job creation

Baltimore County is supporting a new State designation for Towson University to maximize their economic development impact. County Executive Kevin Kamenetz sent a letter to the Maryland Department of Commerce in support of Towson University’s designation as a qualified Maryland Regional Institution Strategic Enterprise (RISE) Zone institution. Once approved, the University is eligible for full designation as a RISE Zone.

The RISE Zone program was established by the State to leverage the economic development potential of Maryland’s higher education institutions.

“RISE Zone designation for Towson University will build on their leadership in attracting innovation companies to the TU incubator, with the potential to further support emerging companies that locate and create new jobs in Towson,” said Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz.

Towson University has strong economic development impact in areas near the university. The University has a presence in downtown Towson with its Center for Well-Being, Hussman Center for Adults with Autism, and affiliated WTMD Radio studios at Towson City Center.

“Towson University is a significant economic driver of a knowledge-based economy for Towson, the county and greater Baltimore,” said Towson University President Kim Schatzel. “The RISE Zone designation will advance the university’s connectedness and impact throughout the region. TU’s $1.8 billion annual economic impact, including $150 million generated by the TU incubator, makes us a sought-after partner for established businesses and start-ups alike. The RISE Zone designation will help position Greater Towson as a leader in technological innovation, entrepreneurship and a knowledge-based economy.”

- Upgrades to ease congestion near hospitals and Towson University

Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz announced that the County is moving forward with improvements to the intersection of Towsontown Boulevard and Osler Drive just north of Towson University. Following discussions with the university and three nearby medical institutions, the County has initiated a project to improve traffic flow and enhance pedestrian and driving safety with an upgraded signal, additional sidewalks and a 16-foot road widening, which will permit a double left-turn lane on to Osler Drive.

“We appreciate the collaboration of these thriving Towson institutions as we all work together to bring a new vibrancy to downtown Towson,” said Kamenetz. “This roadway improvement helps provide for the significant growth that continues in Towson.”

The first phase of construction was completed today, including widening Towsontown Boulevard and installing sidewalks west of Osler Drive. In early 2017, the Department of Public Works will install a new sanitary sewer line in Towsontown Boulevard in the vicinity of Osler Drive. This construction is expected to take approximately three months to complete.

At the end of the school year, the next phase of the roadway widening project will start in May and run through August, with the installation of retaining walls on the north side of Towsontown Boulevard east and west of Osler Drive, followed by the 16-foot roadway widening.

The roadway improvements are a partnership between Baltimore County and Towson University, along with its neighboring medical institutions – Greater Baltimore Medical Center, Sheppard Pratt Health System and University of Maryland St. Joseph Medical Center. The County will contribute $1.7 million, which is 75% of the $2.3 million estimated cost, with the remaining cost to be shared between the university and the three hospitals. 

Revised September 11, 2017