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Havre de Grace economic development director emphasizes ‘silver lining’ in Dart’s departure from city

Havre de Grace economic development director emphasizes ‘silver lining’ in Dart’s departure from city
Dart Container Corporation, will close its Havre de Grace warehouse and distribution center in 2020, the company announced. (Matt Button / Baltimore Sun)

The Dart Container Corporation will close its facility on Clark Lane in Havre de Grace next year, affecting 21 jobs, but there is “a little bit of a silver lining” in the form of other companies moving to the city, according to its economic development director.

Erika Quesenbery Sturgill gave the mayor and City Council an update Monday on Dart’s upcoming departure as the Michigan-based maker of food packaging products plans to close its distribution and warehouse centers in Harford and Carroll counties in 2020 and shift those operations to Delaware in the wake of Maryland’s foam containers ban. That statewide ban takes effect July 1, 2020.

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“That’s approximately 21 jobs that will be leaving [Havre de Grace] the first quarter of 2020,” said Sturgill, who noted that “the lion’s share” of the 90 jobs in both Dart facilities will be in Carroll County.

She cited excerpts from the company’s letter regarding its Maryland plant closings, noting officials stressed that the polystyrene container ban is not "'the core reason'” for shifting operations to Delaware, but “'elected officials’ decisions to ban some of our products that we make did not encourage us to keep our distribution facilities in the state of Maryland.'”

“They were regretful of leaving Havre de Grace, though,” Sturgill added. “They did love it here.”

However, Sturgill noted two other positive developments for the city’s economic development.

She expects to have more information at the next City Council meeting, which would be Tuesday, Sept. 3, about a “fifth-generation industrial construction company” planning to establish a new office and fabrication plant in Havre de Grace along Route 40.

She also brought up Ad hoc Research Associates LLC, a defense contractor that is relocating from Harford County’s business incubator, The GroundFloor at Harford, on Pulaski Highway in Havre de Grace, to the Tidewater Building on South Market Street, also in Havre de Grace.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony took place Wednesday.

Councilman Jason Robertson also brought up Ad hoc’s relocation from The GroundFloor to Market Street, discussing the type of work the company does. Their services include cyber and data analytics, modeling and simulations to support the military in the C4ISR — Command, Control, Communication and Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance — field, evaluation and testing, as well as integration of C4ISR systems, according to the company website.

“Good job, Erika and Economic Development,” Robertson said.

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