HCGH Proposes Construction Project to Serve Growing Community

Howard County General Hospital (HCGH) is proposing a construction project that would add a two-story addition to the hospital and renovate existing space. It would rise in an effort to meet current community needs for emergency care, general medical and surgical care, and behavioral health services, including acute mental health and substance use disorder treatment.

The proposed 36,000-square-foot addition would be located adjacent to the existing emergency room facing Little Patuxent Parkway. After the addition is complete, approximately 18,000 square feet of internal renovations would take place in existing space. The construction project would span three years and take place in stages, during which all hospital services would remain open. HCGH is in the process of seeking Howard County Planning Board approval for the project.

HCGH had the highest year-over-year increase in inpatient admissions of all hospitals in the Baltimore region last year. The hospital’s general inpatient units operate close to capacity most days, with 19% growth projected by 2024.

In addition, the hospital’s adult emergency room treated a record 60,310 patients last year, a nearly 5% increase over the previous year. The pediatric emergency room treats 18,000 patients annually, including adolescent patients with behavioral health issues. The number of adolescents with behavioral health needs increased 46% at the hospital in the last two years.

BWI Marshall D/E Connector Opens Before Holiday Rush

Gov. Larry Hogan and First Lady Yumi Hogan joined business and state transportation leaders at BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport to celebrate the opening of the $125 million D/E Connector, a major airport construction project that will improve customer service for BWI Marshall Airport travelers. The connector provides additional international airline capacity and new passenger services, including a new security checkpoint to serve domestic and international passengers.

The connector program includes several elements that will benefit BWI Marshall customers, including the creation of an eight-lane security checkpoint to serve domestic and international travelers, the addition of new food and retail concessions, the construction of a new secure connector between Concourse D and the international Concourse E, and the configuration of airline gates to support added international service. The additions also include a new children’s play area and an outdoor patio space with airfield views.

The D/E Connector project also includes a gallery featuring art created by regional artists. A five-member jury panel of local educators, for which Yumi Hogan served as chairperson, selected the art during a recent competition. A total of 581 entries were received during the contest, and 28 pieces were selected for the exhibition space.

Finishing work on the terminal enhancements will continue through early 2017. New concessions and new restrooms will be added. The former security checkpoints for the D and E concourses will be decommissioned.

Interest in Maryland Racing Continues to Grow

The Fall Festival of Racing, which was held on Saturday, Nov. 19, at Laurel Park, boasted a 19.6% increase in handle over the previous year and showcased the growing interest in thoroughbred racing in Maryland.

The 11-race program, featuring the $250,000 De Francis Dash (G3), generated a total handle of $4.513 million, compared to $3.775 million in 2015; meanwhile, in-state handle, which was bolstered by the expansion of the Maryland Jockey Club’s off-track betting facilities, rose 16.4%. The increases continued a growing trend in the Maryland thoroughbred industry. On Oct. 22, total handle on Jim McKay Maryland Million Day was up 18.5% over the previous year, and 59.8% over 2014.

Earlier this year, the 141st Preakness Stakes (G1), the Middle Jewel of racing’s Triple Crown, set all-time records in total handle ($94.127 million) and attendance (135,256). Black-Eyed Susan Day also had increases over the previous year with total handle of $18.661 million compared to $17.815 in 2015.

The Maryland Jockey Club expects to take in $425 million in total handle this year, an increase from $355 million in 2015 and $296 million in 2014.

County Awarded Grant for Bicycle-Ped Connection in Columbia

Howard County Executive Allan Kittleman announced that the Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) approved a nearly $100,000 grant to design and construct a bicycle and pedestrian connection through Howard Community College (HCC) in Columbia.

The pathway will join an existing path on the south side of Hickory Ridge Road and run across the HCC campus to the Downtown Columbia Trail. The 0.4-mile project will be paid for with a $99,724 grant from the Maryland Bikeways Program fund, connecting it to 94 miles of existing pathways and trails in Columbia. Kittleman said HCC will play an important role in coordinating work done on the campus and that the pathway integrates with planned facility improvements.

This new path, which is expected to be completed in 2017, will provide for safe crossings of Hickory Ridge Road, travel through HCC using a signed and marked path of travel and then join up with the Columbia multi-use trail next to Little Patuxent Parkway between Cedar Lane and Blandair Park, Kittleman said.

“I am very pleased to learn of this grant award,” said County Council Member Mary Kay Sigaty, representative for the area. “Not only will this create improved access throughout Howard Community College’s campus, but it will also provide access to the multi-use pathway for residents of Hickory Ridge. It’s another important connection leading to Blandair Park that will be used for many years to come.”

Last Year’s ‘Dear Jerry’ Concert at Merriweather Available

“Dear Jerry: Celebrating The Music of Jerry Garcia,” created and produced by Blackbird Presents and the Jerry Garcia Family — and recorded at Columbia’s Merriweather Post Pavilion — has released worldwide by Rounder in multiple formats, including Blu-ray, DVD, CD and digital download.

On May 14, 2015, an array of musical artists from rock, folk, R&B, reggae, bluegrass and country converged on Merriweather for a once-in-a-lifetime concert event taping to pay tribute to the enduring musical and cultural legacy of the late Garcia, who died in August 1995.

The two-and-one-half-hour concert film and companion audio recordings feature more than 20 performances from this event by Phil Lesh & Communion, Bob Weir, Bill Kreutzmann’s Billy & the Kids, Mickey Hart, Eric Church, Jimmy Cliff, The Disco Biscuits, Peter Frampton, David Grisman, Jorma Kaukonen, Los Lobos, Buddy Miller, moe., O.A.R., Grace Potter, Allen Toussaint, Trampled By Turtles, Widespread Panic and the Yonder Mountain String Band.

The concert film and audio recordings include some of Garcia’s most beloved songs, including “Touch of Grey,” “Friend of The Devil,” “Sugaree,” “Uncle John’s Band,” “St. Stephen,” “The Wheel” and many more.

M&T Bank Increases Small Business Lending, to Be No. 1 Lender in District

M&T Bank ended the 2016 federal fiscal year ranked as the sixth largest U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) lender in the nation, rising from seventh in 2015, based on the total number of 7(a) loans made. Total dollars loaned to the bank’s small business customers through the 7(a) program increased by more than 20% during the fiscal year.

With 1,739 7(a) loans totaling $200.4 million, M&T is the No. 1 lender in the Baltimore market, with 302 loans for $39.5 million, and has issued almost 48% of the 634 total number of 7(a) loans made throughout the district. The bank holds the same distinction in the Washington, D.C., SBA District, where it is the leading issuer of SBA loans in terms of both loans made and dollar volume, with 172 loans for $30.2 million in 2016. M&T made one out of every four SBA loans issued in the Washington, D.C., district.

Hogan Administration to Save Truckers $6M in Reduced Fees

Gov. Larry Hogan has announced the trucking industry will save $6 million in fees annually with the state’s new Maryland One System automated permitting process. The system is a state-of-the-art, first-in-the-nation automated truck permit system for state, toll and Baltimore City roads, which eliminates the final vestiges of manual paper processing.

The new system has reduced overweight hauling permit processing from days and weeks to hours, and eliminates review fees. Maryland receives more than 140,000 overweight/oversize permit applications each year, which until recently required engineers to manually review for safety. Now, Maryland One is auto-issuing 69% of applications the same day or even within hours of submission; at present, 97% of these permits are issued within two days or less — while it previously took up to 10 or more days.

Kittleman, HCEDA Release Economic Impact Study for Ellicott City Flood

Howard County Executive Allan Kittleman and the Howard County Economic Development Authority (HCEDA) have released results of a study analyzing the economic impact of the flash flood in Historic Ellicott City on July 30. The study, commissioned by the HCEDA and conducted by the Jacob France Institute at the University of Baltimore, examined economic contributions of the downtown Ellicott City Main Street corridor prior to the flood and estimated economic losses as a result of the event.

The report highlights that the flood caused a reduction in economic activity of $67.2 million, reduced labor income of $27.2 million, a loss of 151 jobs and a decrease in county government revenue of as much as $1.3 million.

“Since the flood hit, our priorities have been safety first, then getting the street reopened as quickly as possible for residents and business owners,” said Kittleman. “Clearly, we expected a huge economic impact to both businesses and the county due to this devastation. The goal now is to rebuild and rebound. We’ve made tremendous progress, with 44 businesses that have already opened and another 28 planning to reopen over the next few weeks. Through a combination of tax credits, fee waivers, expedited reviews, financing and other support, the county is committed to minimizing the negative economic impact as much as possible.”

The study also examined the payback period, or return on investment, of future flood mitigation improvements that may be undertaken by the county. The analysis estimates a payback period of 4.3 years for every $10 million spent on improvements and reports that every $1 spent on mitigation saves an average of $4.

The report states that the total economic impact and fiscal costs related to the flood are as yet unknown, and a more thorough study is needed six to 12 months after the event. The full report can be viewed at http://hceda.org/media/41966060/Ellicott_City_Flood_Report.pdf.