Jay Fergusonjay@deepcreekvacations.com301-501-0420

Garrett County plans new facility at business park

Commissioners sign off on block grant application

Elaine Blaisdell Cumberland Times-News

OAKLAND — The Garrett County commissioners ap-proved the signing of documents regarding an application for a Keysers Ridge Business Park creation project during a public hearing earlier this week.

The application through the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development Block Grant program will provide $625,000 for new construction for job creation at the park, according to Frank Shap, acting director of the Department of Economic Development.

“The CDBG funds are available for the restricted use of job creation,” said Shap. “The $3 million project requires matching funds that will assist in the construction of a new 10,000-square-foot facility for a business to locate at Keysers Ridge park.”

The park has 224 available acres, according to the Economic Development website.

The CDBG program is a federally sponsored program designed to assist units of general local government with activities directed toward neighborhood and housing revitalization, economic development and improved community facilities and services.

Maryland’s program is administered by the Department of Housing and Community Development, in close cooperation with the Department of Business and Economic Development.

Also during the commission meeting, the board announced the appointment of Michael Koch, co-owner and board president of FireFly Farms, as the director of the Department of Economic Development. Koch replaces Jim Hinebaugh, who retired in September.

“We made a decision to move forward and form a committee in search of a replacement,” said commission chairman Robert Gatto. “It was a good process; we had an excellent committee. We had a good turnout of applicants. Many applicants were qualified and they (the committee) had a tough time making a decision.”

Koch thanked the commissioners; Monty Pagenhardt, county administrator; the economic development team and Hinebaugh for their work.

“I’m very pleased and honored to be joining the economic development team,” said Koch. “I want to commit to you all that I will use all my talents, energies, creativity as well as my business and personal network to these ends: Grow the size, diversity and health of the Garrett County economy.”

Koch said that he and the economic development team will have a threefold focus, which will include working to grow county business; working with the Chamber of Commerce to grow existing businesses and to attract new businesses; and working to develop new and enhanced county infrastructure and to increase county tourism.

“We’ll work to ensure that Garrett County secures its place as a regionally and nationally renowned destination,” said Koch. “We’ll be as transparent as the lawyers allow us to be with our community and do everything we can to encourage engagement and collaboration.”

Koch also plans on targeting specific business sectors that are aligned with the county’s assets and interests and leveraging the work of the ongoing county branding study.

Contact Elaine Blaisdell at eblaisdell@times-news.com.



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Jay Ferguson

Who I Am My name is Jay Ferguson, and I am a lifelong resident of the Deep Creek Lake area. I am also co-owner of the real estate side of Taylor Made. I have been in the real estate business for 21+ years now and I LOVE what I do! I have to say, my career really took off when I co-founded the real estate side of Taylor Made in 2014. Its been an amazing experience, building a real estate company from the ground up and achieving so much so quickly! In August 2016, we purchased Long & Foster Real Estate Deep Creek, where I had started my career in 2000. In 2018, we on-boarded virtually every agent from Coldwell Banker Deep Creek Realty as they closed up shop and the real estate family grew even more! We now have over 40 sales agents and have expanded to West Virginia and Pennsylvania, as well. Taylor Made is the #1 vacation rental company at Deep Creek with over 475 vacation rental homes, and over one hundred thousand yearly visitors. Its amazing what we have accomplished using the principles of honesty, teamwork and customer service! Personally, my wife Jessica and I enjoy traveling and especially spending time in the outdoors, hiking and exploring the many diverse areas that Garrett County is naturally blessed with. We have raised two wonderful children here, Kayleah (22) and Noah (13). In the summer, we love spending time on the water with friends & family and enjoying the lake life! We are both active in our church, our community & local school activities, and we fill our schedule with plenty of volunteer efforts. I currently serve on the board of directors for Habitat for Humanity. I am proud to say that I was named Deep Creek Time’s Favorite ‘Community Champion’ in 2019. I was also named Garrett County Realtor of the Year in 2018-19, as well. I really enjoy promoting my hometown. I am very proud of the resort area that has developed over my lifetime and look forward to growing the area even more! Deep Creek Lake has been described as ‘The Lake Tahoe of the east', and I think that speaks volumes about the potential to own property here! Deep Creek Lake isn't really a town or city by itself; it's comprised of three towns: Oakland, Swanton & McHenry, Maryland. I am very passionate about my hometown and am impressed with how many people know about it as we travel around the country. Deep Creek Lake is an amazing place to visit and even better place to live! During the pandemic in 2020, our market exploded and more and more people left their primary residence in the city to live here permanently. With distance learning in schools and tele-commuting becoming the ‘norm’, many more people were drawn to the area to ‘live where they love to play’. Why You Want Me Working for You: In addition to being an owner, I am consistently one of the top-producing agents in the entire area and the Associate Broker of record for Taylor-Made Deep Creek Vacations & Sales. I have 21+ years of experience and I am a problem solver. There aren’t many situations that I have not encountered and I have a strategy for almost every scenario that you may encounter. I have extensively trained in all areas of real estate & emerging technologies, and also have trained as an appraiser, as well as served as a full-time Broker. I have a strong knowledge of the industry, as well as many trusted local contacts & affiliations that allow me to perform at a very high level and deliver results. I have a great deal of respect for my peers in this industry and have strong working relationships that I would love to put to work for you. Call me to discuss your situation - I know I can be of great service to you & others you care about! Honesty. Integrity. Results.