Happening this week around the county …

Donna Tapley has stepped down as executive director of the Bainbridge Development Corporation after 13 years.

She recently told the Whig she left the job on July 16 to pursue personal priorities.

Formed by the Maryland General Assembly in 1999, the BDC is charged with finding business, industry and other development for the former U.S. Naval Training Center Bainbridge, which sits east of Port Deposit atop the granite cliff. The BDC has had little success thanks to a lack of infrastructure and the discovery that asbestos remains on the site even after an initial cleanup paid for by the U.S. Navy.

Port Deposit annexed the 1,200-acre site into its borders in 1999, and infrastructure is now being addressed with Cecil County poised to upgrade the septic system while Artesian will take on the water supply.

In an interview via email, Tapley said she feels her greatest accomplishment was bringing all the parties to the table to make sure the environmental issues of the property were understood.

“This has culminated in various agencies of the state, federal and local government as well as congressional offices cooperatively working on developing a portion of the property that meets the regulatory requirements, federal and state limitations and works within the town’s needs,” Tapley said.

Tapley remains confident in the future of the former naval base.

“The BDC and U.S. Navy are jointly working on redeveloping a small portion of the property in a quick turnaround that would result into a commercial economic engine for the community,” she said.


West Cecil Health Center has a new program that gives those with little to no dental insurance a way to afford comprehensive, restorative dental care.

The Smiles Fund pays for what insurance won’t cover, or can completely cover, such things as root canals and crowns, a costly method of saving teeth. Before this fund was established, patients often opted to have the teeth pulled because it was the least expensive procedure.

Last year WCHC served 633 Medicaid or uninsured patients at its clinic at 4863 Pulaski Highway, Suite 200, in Perryville.

For more information or to make an appointment, call 410-378-9696 or go online to www.westcecilhealth.org.


The Arc Northern Chesapeake Region, which serves Cecil and Harford County residents with intellectual and developmental disabilities, recently received a $12,000 grant to help with its Supported Employment Training Program.

The money from The Arc of the United States and the Walmart Foundation will help these individuals keep employment by teaching soft skills such as business etiquette, communications and professionalism but also career-focused training in the hospitality, retail and nonprofit industry.

Shawn Kros, CEO of The Arc NCR, said the grant will help them continue to build the program.

“We are grateful to Walmart and The Arc US for providing us the opportunity to further our commitment to securing meaningful, community-based employment for individuals with differing abilities in Harford and Cecil counties,” Kros said.


The Susquehanna Workforce Center and Cecil College are teaming up to offer a trucking career job fair from 9 a.m. until noon Saturday, Aug. 4, at the workforce center located at 1275 W. Pulaski Highway in Elkton.

Local, regional and national trucking companies will be on hand so come prepared to be interviewed on site. Bring a resume and dress for success.

This is the 11th time that SWN and the college have hosted the trucking career fair.

Call 410-287-1615 for details.


Former Chesapeake City Mayor Dean Geracimos has been hired by Blue Water Development, an Ocean City-based hospitality and development firm, to serve as chief operations officer.

Geracimos, a longtime Ocean City native, will primarily advise on day-to-day operations, acquisitions and building internal infrastructure models to streamline and standardize transitions across Blue Water’s expanding portfolio, according to a May 31 press release.

“We’ve watched what Dean can do in the entrepreneurial and marketing game for decades,” Blue Water owner Todd Burbage said in a statement. “He’s always had a great eye for business opportunities — he’s a real growth machine and we know he’ll make big things happen around here.”

Geracimos, who resigned from his mayoral position last year citing a lack of shared vision with his town council, has a history with Blue Water. When the firm approached Cecil County in 2016 about developing a campground off Oldfield Point Road, he along with Cecilton Mayor Joe Zang spoke in favor of the zoning amendments that would be needed. Ultimately, the legislation wasn’t approved by county council and the plan fizzled.

Geracimos began his professional career by starting a golf travel package company that became increasingly successful in the early 2000s. After selling the business, he later turned to property development, making investments throughout Cecil County and in Ocean City.

“There’s not a morning I wake up that I’m not excited for my job,” Geracimos said in a statement. “Blue Water has a very unique dynamic, and the possibilities are endless here. We’re in a position to bring our learnings from hotel management to the campground industry, and we expect some truly transformative changes to provide the ultimate guest experience.”


Nominations are now open for the 2019 Governor’s Agriculture Hall of Fame. The deadline to apply is Oct. 6.

The award goes to farm families that derive their income principally from farming.

“Agriculture is a top industry for Maryland, and farmers work hard year-round to support our state and rural communities,” Maryland Agriculture Secretary Joe Bartenfelder in a statement. “In recognition of the dedicated farm families throughout Maryland, I encourage residents to submit a nomination for the Governor’s Agriculture Hall of Fame.”

Cecil County farms can be nominated through the county extension office inside the Cecil County Administration Building, located at 200 Chesapeake Blvd. in Elkton.

The Milburn family won the award in 2016. Prior to that, it went to Grove and Jack Miller in 2001 and the Walton Mason family in 1998.

The 2019 winners will be announced in Annapolis at the Feb. 7 Taste of Maryland Agriculture reception.


Perryville is offering business development grants for projects in town limits. The program is funded through the town’s share of proceeds from Hollywood Casino. Businesses can use the funds for such things as expansion, building improvements, property lease or purchase, purchase of furniture or machinery, or other costs associated with the opening or expansion of a business in town.

The applicant business must be located in the town center, neighborhood business, highway commercial, residential marine, or commercial maritime district. In the residential districts (R-1, R-2 and R-3), no new businesses are allowed to apply. Existing businesses may apply though.

Applications are available online at perryvillemd.org. The program has a $30,000 allocation for the current fiscal year.


The Chester County, Pa., Department of Children Youth & Families was recently awarded for their work in placing children eligible for adoption into loving, permanent homes. The awards came at the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services Adoption and Permanency Conference. Shadell Quinones, manager of the CYF Adoption Unit, received top honors as Permanency Professional of the Year.

Kristin Terrell, CYF supervisor, and Briana Stinson, caseworker, received Permanency Teamwork honors for their work toward finding permanent homes for children with special needs, including a 16-year-old in Chester County who had been in multiple foster homes for many years before finding a forever family.

Business Beat is a weekly column on business happenings in and around Cecil County. If interested in having your business featured in this column, contact Jane Bellmyer at jbellmyer@cecilwhig.com or 443-245-5007.

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