Prince George’s County lawmakers may create a special science and technology district that includes College Park, Greenbelt, Beltsville and other northwest portions of the county – all part of an effort to lure science and technology jobs through incentive programs.
“Other jurisdictions in our region have done a good job of branding their area and putting in tax incentives and really focusing their efforts,” said County Council member Eric Olson (D-College Park), the measure’s chief sponsor, a Washington Post story. “We need to make sure that Prince George’s County gets on the map for this.”
Council members appear to support the measure, which they say could make Prince George’s more competitive for science and technology jobs now going to Montgomery County and its Interstate 270 technology corridor.
The area under consideration is already a center for climatology, space industries, and agriculture-related sciences. In Greenbelt, there is NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center; College Park is the home of the new National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Center for Weather and Climate Prediction and the site of the University of Maryland; and the regions houses the Beltsville Agricultural Research Center and a 110-acre site where Howard University plans to develop a research park.
“We want to harness these institutions to try to get more private jobs in this area,” Olson said.
A council committee approved the measure earlier this month and the full council is expected to vote on it this week. Creating the special business district will allow the county to provide tax incentives, streamline permitting and approvals, and eventually increase economic development, officials said.
University of Maryland President Wallace D. Loh said in a letter of support that the county’s incentives and tools can help keep more U-Md. start-up companies in Prince George’s County.