Howard County Executive Calvin Ball is an optimist.
So when a business owner made a bold statement during a recent morning meeting – “We want to be for Howard County what Under Armour is for Baltimore” – the Ball administration was moving on the issue by lunchtime.
“My favorite day to get things done is today. And my favorite time to get things done is now,” the 43-year-old Democrat said later in the afternoon.
The company, Mosaic Learning, is exactly the kind of growing business the county is trying to entice to locate in the Columbia Gateway Innovation District in Columbia.
On Ball’s 100th day in office, he and the Howard County Economic Development Authority signed a memorandum of understanding for a 50,000 square foot incubation center with a focus on innovation, cybersecurity, and technology in the district. The plan, which was first initiated by his Republican predecessor, Allan Kittleman, is to reinvigorate the broader business district, first with farmers’ markets and food trucks, and later with new land uses and more transportation.
Like most everything else in Howard County, Ball hopes the gateway project will become the exemplar for other communities in Maryland – and maybe around the world.
Being exemplary is not unknown to Howard, a community that finds itself ranked highly on many “most” lists. Most educated. Healthiest. Best schools.