Police Chief retirement badge

Police Chief William McMahon, left, was presented with a retirement badge after a 30-year career in law enforcement, including eight as the head of the department. Maj. Gary Gardner, right, who succeeds McMahon effective July 1, presented McMahon with the badge. (Howard County Police Department photo / June 25, 2014)

Police Maj. Gary Gardner is scheduled to formally take the reins of the Howard County Police Department as its new chief after William McMahon retires June 30.

McMahon, 51, has served as chief since being named by County Executive Ken Ulman in 2006. In April, he announced his plan to retire.

Gardner, 55, formally takes over as chief July 1.

The new chief is a 30-year veteran of the Howard County Police Department and holds the position of deputy chief for operations, overseeing patrol districts, operational preparedness division and the youth services division.

During his career, Gardner has served in roles including deputy chief for administration, commander of the criminal investigations bureau, chief of staff, commander in the patrol division and the public information officer.

Police officials said Gardner's work within the department has included realignment of patrol beats for improved response services; implementation of a crime analysis-driven system for allocating resources in patrol operations; development of the Alpha Ridge Training Center as the head of the police planning team; and creation of the department's Police Memorial Courtyard and Garden at headquarters.

Gardner has a master's degree from Eastern Kentucky University and is a graduate of the FBI's National Academy. He is a member of the Maryland Chiefs of Police Association, the International Association of Chiefs of Police and the FBI National Academy Associates.

He is also an active supporter of Maryland Special Olympics and other law enforcement-related charities.

—Staff Reports

Howard Hughes, Arts Commission sign Merriweather deal

A $19 million renovation plan for Merriweather Post Pavilion came closer to becoming reality last week when it was announced that the current and future owners of the landmark music venue signed a joint development agreement.

The agreement provides a structure for renovations made possible through another arrangement between Howard Hughes Corp. and the government of Howard County, even as ownership of Merriweather passes from Hughes to the Arts and Culture Commission.

It also clears the way for the Arts and Culture Commission to begin using the facility before the official transfer of ownership, projected to happen in 2019.

The agreement between the Arts and Culture Commission and Howard Hughes Corp. became necessary after, earlier this year, Hughes and the county government announced they had agreed to a $19 million renovation plan for Merriweather, which is nearly 50 years old and, according to some, is showing its age.

The agreement between Howard Hughes and Howard County required the Arts and Culture Commission and the developer sign their own deal to ensure continuity during the transfer of the pavilion, a process that will transpire at no cost after the completion of the renovations in 2019.

Greg Fitchitt, vice president of development for Howard Hughes, said the joint development agreement is a "key document" that allows the project to go "full speed ahead."

Howard County Executive Ken Ulman, an outspoken proponent of hastening improvements to the pavilion, said the agreement, "will ensure the future of Merriweather for generations to come, and reinforce its place as one of the finest concert venues in the country."

—Luke Lavoie, Baltimore Sun Media Group

Erosion forces emergency repairs on Race Road

Anne Arundel and Howard County officials say a section of Race Road in Hanover that was shut down June 19 will be closed for eight to 12 weeks for emergency repair.