CASCADE, Md. (WDVM) — After redevelopment of Fort Ritchie in the northeast corner of Washington County was delayed, the project is now on a fast track.
A former military installation was closed in 1998 after the federal government downsized the footprint of military installations across the country, these 500 or so acres in Cascade, Maryland sat idle until local developer John Krumpotich bought the property for nearly $2 million with an innovative development project in mind.
“The momentum has been, I think, the real connection,” said Krumpotich. “The community has been a big help. Local members of the community have been just remarkably supportive as has Washington County and the State of Maryland.”
Krumpotich successfully fought back legal challenges to his purchase. Retail and housing development have quickly taken root as well as a satellite college campus on the grounds.
“We had an ice-cream shop this year,” said Krumpotich. “We have a coffee shop out front. We’re in planning stages with a local brewery, so there are some really exciting things that are going on as well as we are in talks right now with a university presence on the fort.”
A custom automotive parts manufacturer has put down roots at Fort Ritchie too, with customers in markets across the globe. Things have taken off very quickly.
“Five years from now I hope Ft. Ritchie is an operational town and just has a full community life. Full commercial life. Really, working on the streetscapes. It’s such a beautiful place,” said Krumpotich.
Further economic growth for the project is projected over the next few years. Fort Ritchie was built in 1926 as a military training facility. Upon completing that training, those soldiers were deployed to U.S. bases around the world.