Residents near stadium site fear for neighborhoods State is unlikely to help with parking, trash, traffic

February 22, 1996|By Jonathan Bor | Jonathan Bor,SUN STAFF

As a downtown football stadium moves closer to reality, residents of nearby streets are demanding remedies to the trash, noise, traffic and parking problems they said will plague their southwest neighborhoods when the game returns to Baltimore.

About 70 residents of Pigtown, Washington Village, Ridgely's Delight and other communities gathered in a church basement last night to voice concerns about the negative impact of football crowds -- and to demand some of the stadium jobs and beautification projects.

"You can beautify all you want, but it'll be like Yankee Stadium," said Victoria Hopwood-Bruns, president of the Washington Village Improvement Association. "You'll have to drive through a slum to get to it."

The meeting was held at St. Jerome Hall on West Hamburg Street.

Community to be involved

Bruce H. Hoffman, executive director of the Maryland Stadium Authority and an invited guest, said a planning council will involve community leaders in decisions about parking, traffic, landscaping and stadium architecture.

He said he doesn't expect major parking or traffic snarls on residential streets because many season ticket plans will be packaged with parking permits for garages north of Pratt Street.

A light rail stop will be built next to the football stadium, while people taking the MARC train will use the platform adjacent to Oriole Park at Camden Yards.

The football stadium will be just south of Oriole Park.

Mr. Hoffman said he will make every effort to hire local residents for stadium jobs as they become available.

But he made no promises about direct aid to nearby communities, many of which are struggling with decayed housing, poor schools, litter and drugs.

'Impact fee' sought

He did not directly answer calls by Christopher Bruns, secretary of the Washington Village association, to pay an "impact fee" that neighborhoods could use for schools or neighborhood repairs.

Mr. Bruns said the community has not benefited from the money spent at the Orioles baseball stadium, and he was disappointed that the Maryland Stadium Authority has not offered money to help neighborhoods cope with problems related to sports crowds and to long-standing economic woes.

"We expect you to treat residents of the neighborhoods with at least as much respect and concern as you've shown the visitors of Camden Yards," Mr. Bruns said.

After the meeting, Mr. Hoffman said any aid would have to be authorized by the legislature. But he wasn't optimistic.

"These are problems they have with and without us," Mr. Hoffman said.

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