High Hopes For Tech Park Plans

SNOW HILL – Supporters of a Pocomoke-based science and tech park say that the planned research campus could put billions of dollars into the regional economy and would create up to 1,100 high paying jobs.

Architect Tim Crosby, who is working on the park study, said the science and tech park would create between 650 and 1,100 jobs. The average salary for workers would be $45,000 a year, and the payroll for the entire park when up and running would be between $30 million to $50 million.

A recent partnership between the county and University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES), which has just established pharmacy and engineering schools, is a great boost for the park plan.

Research into other science and technical parks show that partnership with a university, which the proposed Pocomoke park has, is key.

“We don’t have to have the workforce today, but we have to show where the workforce will be when we open the doors,” said Mike Nally, a builder working on the study.

The agriculture industry and Wallops Island spaceport would also attract high-tech companies in those areas, Economic Development Director Jerry Redden said.    

Businesses concentrating on bio-pharmaceutical research and products are particularly sought after, said Nally, because they breed other businesses and transform the local economy.

The 550,000-square-foot project would be built in phases, Crosby said, beginning with the educational facility, including a pilot plant to produce new medications.

The park would be built to the highest green level, Crosby said. Buildings and infrastructure would use only 40 percent of the eight-acre parcel, with the remaining 60 percent retained as green space.

“We really think there is a great possibility here for a dynamic economic engine for the county,” Crosby said.