Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker had high praise for the City of Bowie in his April 7 State of the County address. Baker says the economic development experienced should be the model for the rest of the county.

“I think its fitting that I’ve arrived here in Bowie where you’ve faced some of the same economic pressures that we all do, yet you’ve maintained a steady, healthy economy,” Baker told the Greater Bowie Chamber of Commerce. “You’ve balanced your budget and have a Triple-A Bond rating.

“That isn’t a small feat in these tough economic times.”

Bowie is unique in Prince George”s County as it has a business incubator program that helps start up companies grow in the city. Baker says Bowie showed the initiative he wants the county to exhibit when attracting businesses. “I was amazed at the fact that the city did what I want and what we should be doing at the county level and that is spotting opportunities; going out and making the pitch on why it is important for them to come here,” he said.

In addition, the city has several high profile retail areas including Bowie Town Center and has multiple hotels, a science and technology center and the new MedAssurant campus.

Bowie is uniquely positioned to capitalize on economic growth unlike other areas of the county. The outer beltway community has proximity to Washington, Annapolis, and Baltimore working in its favor. It also has a large population and a relatively low crime rate, making it one of the more attractive places to work and live.

Bowie’s unique advantages over the rest of the county lets Baker know it won’t be easy duplicating that success. That’s where he’s hoping the $50 million Economic Development Incentive (EDI) Fund will put Prince George’s over the top.

“It’s easy to ask folks to come in here and it’s easy for us to go out and say ‘listen, you ought to do business in Bowie,’” Baker said. “But when you put some skin in the game then you’re talking a different tune and that is what we plan to do.”

Despite that, Baker remains proud of what Bowie has been able to accomplish. He says he’s committed to taking many of the same steps Bowie has taken in economic development and replicating it across the county.

“This city has been a great ambassador for the county,” Baker said. “You’ve gone out and you’ve said with passion and conviction that businesses should come to Bowie and grow. You said it and you backed it up with action.”

 

George Barnette

Special to the AFRO