By Seanne Coates
Baltimore Watchdog Staff Writer
The Baltimore County Council voted Monday to approve a $2.2 million loan to help entice Amazon to build a distribution center in the unincorporated community of Sparrows Point.
Council member David Marks said that Amazon’s move into Baltimore County would bring in 1,500 jobs to the area, which is adjacent to Dundalk. Local residents also would be needed at the construction site and to offer other services, he said.
The unanimous vote confirms earlier comments by County Executive Kevin Kamenetz, who said that the council was “proactively putting pieces in place to attract an Amazon fulfillment center to Tradepoint Atlantic.” Tradepoint Atlantic is the new name given to the site of the old Sparrows Point steel mill.
The state Department of Commerce is offering Amazon a $2 million conditional loan and the Baltimore County loan is a show of support that the state required. Officials said Amazon would not have to repay the loans if certain conditions are met, such as hiring a certain number of local residents.
Amazon, which is based in Seattle, is an American electronic commerce and cloud computing company best known for its gigantic online retail business. Amazon.com is the eighth largest employer in the U.S. The company already has 2,000 employees in Maryland.
The council also voted unanimously on an opioid intervention team that would allow peer recovery specialists to provide immediate services to people having drug-related issues. This bill would expedite services for those who want it.
“When you’re ready at 11 o clock at night, I can’t make you wait till 8 o clock in the morning,” Gregory Branch, director of Health and Human Services, told the council, referring to the around-the-clock services needed for people addicted to opiods. “Peer recovery specialists can now work directly with that person at that particular time.”