Panel to review Memorial Stadium plans

Options include housing for seniors, research park, retail center

April 14, 1999|By Jamie Stiehm | Jamie Stiehm,SUN STAFF

The Memorial Stadium land game is now in the fourth quarter, and at stake is how North Baltimore's prized piece of real estate will look in the next century -- with or without the storied ballpark's architecture.

An 11-member review panel convenes tonight in a closed-door meeting at city planning offices to compare three dramatically different development proposals: a retirement community, a research and technology park and upper-income housing/retail use.

The goal, city Planning Director Charles C. Graves III said, is to "figure out a recommendation" to forward to Housing and Community Development Director Daniel P. Henson III, who will have the final say on the matter. Henson is expected to make up his mind next month.

"Now it's time for us to analyze the numbers and have an in-house discussion," Graves said. "Hopefully, we'll come to some resolution."

The proposal to demolish the stadium and construct a senior housing village with health care and a YMCA for youth and senior programs was the biggest crowd-pleaser at the review panel's last meeting about a month ago, and is likely to be part of the final result, several sources said, since there is a need for a youth recreation facility in the area.

Economic data on the proposals -- including potential tax revenues and funding sources -- will be presented by Baltimore Development Corp. President M. J. "Jay" Brodie.

In addition to Graves and Brodie, five North Baltimore neighborhood representatives and four city or state officials will have a voice and vote at tonight's meeting.

In separate votes taken in recent weeks, the neighborhood groups surrounding the 30-acre site strongly supported the Govans Ecumenical Development Council proposal to demolish the stadium and construct the senior housing village and YMCA. The other two proposals would preserve the stadium's shell.

The research and technology park is considered a strong contender, but at the March meeting, developer Willard Hackerman declined to be specific about the kind of tenants he would seek.

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