When the Carroll County Chamber of Commerce scheduled a meeting in Sykesville, Mayor Jonathan S. Herman said business leaders finally must have discovered his town.
"Maybe this means people recognize Sykesville exists," the mayor told a crowd of chamber members, who met Tuesday at Baldwin's Restaurant on Main Street.
He earned a few laughs, when he quoted a newspaper article from 10 years ago.
"A reporter came to town and the first thing he noticed was a dog sleeping peacefully in the middle of Main Street," the mayor said.
A chamber member wondered where the dog sleeps now. Maybe on a side street somewhere, the mayor answered.
Nothing could stand still for long on a Sykesville street, which today lists no business vacancies.
"We are blessed with an ideal location near major highways and wonderful parks," the mayor said. "But, we are facing tremendous growth, a situation familiar to all Carroll County leaders."
The South Carroll town of 3,000 has about 500 more new homes planned and could increase its population by about 50 percent, he said.
"We can't stop growth, but we can shape it," he said. "We have to make choices with the best information available and your input is essential. Business knowledge comes from real-life experiences."
The mayor urged chamber members to make their views known to county officials and to help the South Carroll area draw industry.
Sykesville has tried unsuccessfully for several years to bring industry to a 32-acre site on Raincliffe Road.
"It is important to get the private sector involved," Mayor Herman said. "Once all the new houses come on line, we are going to need the infrastructure."