Solomons, MD – The Calvert County Chamber of Commerce announced Wednesday, June 17 that in less than two weeks the Solomons Visitor Center will be closing.

According to the local chamber’s president and CEO, William R. Chambers, the decision by the Calvert County Commissioners not to renew its contract with his organization means that “eight long-serving adult staff members will be unemployed.”

Chambers told The Bay Net that he informed the staff of the pending closure at a morning meeting.

“The visitor center serves Calvert residents, tourists of all kinds and disseminates valuable information about Calvert County, county services, all business in Calvert County and provides a personal welcome to the thousands of guests each year that are faithfully served through the visitor center,” Chambers stated in a missive regarding the closing. “The visitor center is a key aid to economic and tourism development in Calvert County. The small investment that the county currently expends to provide these services translates into significant financial dividends for the businesses in Calvert County and in turn our residents.”

Chambers added that Calvert County is now the only Maryland jurisdiction “without a stand-alone visitor center.”

Last year the county commissioners voted 4-to-1 to eliminate staffing of a visitor center at the Fairview Branch of Calvert Library. The action was taken after two contract proposals for the operation of visitor centers at Fairview and Solomons exceeded the amount the county had budgeted in fiscal year (FY) 2015. The contract was subsequently awarded to the Calvert County Chamber of Commerce for staffing the Solomons facility.

The commissioners had received data from staff that indicated utilization of the centers had steadily declined while operational costs had risen.

In a telephone interview, Commissioners Vice President Evan K. Slaughenhoupt Jr. [R – District 3] told The Bay Net that tourist information brochures would be available to Solomons area visitors at Calvert Marine Museum and the Southern Branch of Calvert Library.

“There’s a constant push on us to make changes throughout the year,” said Slaughenhoupt, who affirmed not renewing the pact for the Solomons Visitor Center was the fiscally prudent thing to do. “When we said no that’s what we meant. Reconsideration, in my opinion, is very unlikely.”

Contact Marty Madden at marty.madden@thebaynet.com