Aberdeen Proving Ground and Harford County officials signed a memorandum of understanding, Nov. 30, to allow the Army to use The GroundFloor at Harford in Havre de Grace as a media staging site for emergency situations.
APG Senior Commander Maj. Gen. Randy Taylor and Harford County Executive Barry Glassman signed the agreement during the APG community leader social at Rockfield Manor in Bel Air.
The GroundFloor, a co-working space operated by the Harford County Office of Economic Development, opened in 2013.
Rick Scavetta, an APG community relations officer, said that while the GroundFloor’s Route 40 location is ideal for a staging site, it’s also a resource the Army hopes it will never have to use. Previously, the restaurant in the Ruggle’s Golf Course clubhouse was considered but rejected because it is an area that may not be accessible during an emergency scenario, Scavetta said.
He added that a test of The GroundFloor as a mock press conference site during an active shooter drill in August, had positive results.
“As members of the military, we hope for the best and train for the worst,” Scavetta said.
Karen Holt, Harford County director of economic development, said allowing the Army to use the space was an easy decision, as her office and APG have several informal partnerships in place.
“It’s a natural partnership that fit well,” she said. “This allowed us to formalize a process.”
Glassman said APG is “an important linchpin” to the success of the county, and that after a year of celebrating the installation’s centennial, he looks forward to the county’s relationship with APG continuing in the future.
“[2018’s] going to be another great year for the partnership between Aberdeen Proving Ground and Harford County,” he said.
Holt added that the decision and increased collaboration align well with how the county and installation intend to work together on a Joint Land Use Study the two entities are working on.
During the get-together, Scavetta and Holt discussed the seven focus areas the two groups plan to examine as part of the Joint Land Use Study moving forward, as more funding is requested for the study. This includes a video production series, establishing a community outreach coordinator, an Edgewood Transit Oriented Development study and a sea level change analysis of area waterways.
The study is funded through a grant from the Department of Defense Office of Economic Adjustment and contributions by the local sponsor, Harford County.