October 30,  2010

Aberdeen expansion beginning
to have an impact on county

Having so far gotten three times the response originally anticipated, county government won't slacken efforts to attract civilians being transferred from Monmouth, N.J., to Aberdeen Proving Ground.

Karl Kalbacher, director of economic redevelopment, said only about a fourth of potential transferees have relocated as the Army ordnance facility undergoes phased expansion. He recently told County Council that 2,271 men and women had accepted transfers and that an additional 1,800 or so will be accommodated by the next building to come on line. Of those who have moved, 163, or 6.7% have taken up residence in New Castle County. That, he said, is well in excess of the 2% initial estimate. Nearly 95% of those who said they now have Delaware addresses are in either the Newark, Bear or Glasgow postal zip code areas. Kalbacher said present residents will likely benefit from the necessity to fill jobs left vacant by those who reject transfer.

The key to keeping the county attractive to Aberdeen workers is enhancing the commute. Kalbacher said Maryland Transit Authority has given priority to establishing a maintenance and layover yard in Harford or adjacent Cecil County. That, he said, makes extension of the northern terminus of the rail system from Perryville to Newark more likely. Financing is in place for studies that could pave the way for such expansion as well as freight service, making Delaware locations that much more attractive to new and relocated businesses that serve Aberdeen. While it is difficult to estimate the likely dollar impact on the local economy, he said results so far indicate that proving grounds expansion translates into more "people spending money in New Castle County."

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Read previous Delaforum article: Effort to lure Aberdeen workers paying off

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