Editorial: The right kind of growth for Carroll

Carroll County has seen quite a number of successes when it comes to expanding its manufacturing base in recent years — including new companies locating in the county, and others choosing to stay and expand operations here.

That’s something that Economic Development Director Jack Lyburn has his sights set on continuing in the coming years. We’d like to see it continue as well.


Lyburn presented at the Carroll County Chamber of Commerce’s annual “State of Business” luncheon earlier this week. During his talk, he focused on why the county is ready for even more growth in the manufacturing sector.

In particular, the county has lots of space available for these types of businesses. Lyburn highlighted the Carroll County Commerce Center, Warfield at Historic Sykesville, Mount Airy Business Park, North Carroll Business Park and the Westminster Technology Park as a few examples.

He also touted that Carroll remains the safest county in Maryland, it has a highly educated workforce and land prices are cheaper than surrounding counties. There is a low unemployment rate here and infrastructure like the public fiber optic network, the Carroll County Regional Airport, the Business Employment Resource Center. The county’s proximity to Baltimore, Washington, D.C., BWI and the Port of Baltimore also makes Carroll an attractive locale.

Tourism dollars are also trending upward. Tourism accounted for approximately $120 million in sales in 2017, the latest data available, which may not influence manufacturers, but may give retailers more reason to call Carroll home.

Continued growth of Carroll’s economy is a good thing for everyone who calls the county home.

The obvious reason is that it improves employment opportunities for residents closer to home. More than half of Carroll’s workforce travels outside the county to their place of employment. Having more jobs available locally helps the county in its goal of attracting young families here.

Large commercial or industrial businesses coming to the county also bring additional tax dollars, and increasing that base has long been a goal of elected officials. While businesses do have some impact on infrastructure such as roads, water and sewer, it is a lesser impact that residential developments, while contributing more in taxes. Those funds can in turn be used to fund education, public safety and other infrastructure improvements residents desire.

Carroll has also been smart about identifying the various industrial parks, such as those on Md. 97 north of downtown Westminster and the Warfield complex in Sykesville that Lyburn mentioned earlier, for this economic growth. By keeping it contained to these areas, it also helps Carroll preserve the rural feel that is a draw for so many people who chose to live here.

It’s good that Lyburn and the county are being aggressive in seeking out companies and attracting them to Carroll, rather than sitting back and waiting for them to knock on our doors. Growth isn’t always popular among residents, but bringing more commercial entities — and more importantly, the jobs and tax dollars that come with them — is essential for the county’s future.