$1.1 million to help parks and curtail lead

December 14, 1993|By Timothy B. Wheeler | Timothy B. Wheeler,Staff Writer

Baltimore will get $1.1 million from the federal government for environmental projects such as restoring the city's degraded parks and streams and preventing lead poisoning, Sen. Paul S. Sarbanes announced yesterday.

Nearly half the money, or $500,000, will go for an "urban forestry" program involving Yale University, according to Jackie Carrera, director of the Parks and People Foundation, which is overseeing the program. Up to 60 inner-city youngsters will get training in tree care and park maintenance while being encouraged to pursue environmental careers. The program is part of Yale's urban resource initiative.

Through a "neighborhood stewardship" project, the city and foundation also will work with blighted communities to turn trash-strewn vacant lots into gardens. The effort may help fill the gap left by the recent slashing of federal funds for an urban gardening effort run by the University of Maryland's Cooperative Extension Service.

The stewardship project, run by the city's Recreation and Parks Department, converted only 13 lots to gardens last year, compared with 45 gardens on 4 acres for the extension program.

"We're going to do the best we can" to step up community gardening next year, Ms. Carrera said, noting that cleaning up vacant land is just one part of the city's overall effort.

As for waterways, nearly $300,000 has been approved by Congress for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to complete a study of environmental problems with Baltimore's streams, said Mr. Sarbanes, a Democrat.

Another environmental program mentioned yesterday: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has earmarked $300,000 to continue a 1992 effort to identify and reduce pollution hazards faced by inner-city residents here.

Dominique H. Lueckenhoff, an EPA scientist, said the agency has been looking at consumption of fish caught from Baltimore's harbor and has been working to distribute special "home cleaning kits" to combat the menace of lead-paint poisoning in older homes.

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