Design team to unveil revitalization for Dundalk

Enhanced waterfront, links to city are key

April 06, 2002|By Joe Nawrozki | Joe Nawrozki,SUN STAFF

Sketching a new vision for the historic community of Dundalk, a national team of urban designers unveils today a plan that recommends stronger infrastructure links to Baltimore and a string of marinas, parks and residential villages along a revitalized waterfront.

Some projects could take months, others decades. And the long-range question of financing such an ambitious community redevelopment remains unanswered. But blue-collar Dundalk in the eastern section of Baltimore County has been re-energized by the possibilities.

"There is excitement in Dundalk," said Baltimore County Executive C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger. "This was one of my priorities -- to refurbish older communities -- and it's moving along."

Ruppersberger and other officials will join urban designer Peter Batchelor at the Dundalk campus of the Community College of Baltimore County to present a sweeping blueprint for a section of the county with a proud history.

"The old, cruel stereotype of Dundalk will die starting with this initiative," said Stephanie Jameson, vice president of the Dundalk Renaissance Corp.

The team of architects and economics and transportation specialists from the Urban Design Assistance Team studied the Dundalk peninsula in the autumn and arrived at several major conclusions: Dundalk should connect with Baltimore, enhance its 43 miles of waterfront, capitalize politically on its proud blue-collar heritage, and create new housing in clean, safe and sustainable waterfront environments.

In 48 pages, the planners detailed several key projects:

Scenic Harbor Drive, which from points west in Baltimore such as Canton would carry motorists across Colgate Creek via Broening Highway. The proposed drive would lead to a multipurpose Technology Trail and to the Dundalk Village Shopping Center.

The final leg of the drive would be a proposed new road beginning at Logan Village Shopping Center, leading into an over-the-water causeway serving a new marina community.

St. Helena by the Water, a new neighborhood of loft housing overlooking Colgate Creek. The neighborhood would capitalize on the popularity of Canton's housing and redevelopment boom.

Technology Trail, celebrating the history of Dundalk in steel, shipbuilding, aviation and military transportation. The trail would begin at the proposed Heritage Park and end at the proposed Technology Park on the water. It would feature open-air exhibitions of aircraft and steel-making machinery, a museum and cultural center.

Planners see the Dundalk Village Center, designed in 1918 by Frederick Law Olmsted Jr., as the symbolic heart of the community. Several properties now sit vacant. Urban Design planners proposed a reconfigured center making it more marketable.

Funding for the grand vision of Dundalk could be a problem during the next few years. County officials say $1.7 million is dedicated to demolishing the crime-ridden Yorkway Apartments, and another $1.5 million can be used as start-up money.

But Edward Parker, president of the DRC, said yesterday, "We are where we want to be at this juncture -- the residents and business community now have a comprehensive document showing where we want to go with our future."

Other Urban Design proposals include the "Key Quay," a marina district that could include a new sports center, a cruise ship terminal, hotels and a park; improved land uses and transit service; and streetscaping and elimination of truck traffic on Dundalk Avenue.

Turners Station, the historically black enclave at the tip of the peninsula, also is targeted for improvements capitalizing on waterfront assets.

A signature building with a lighthouse motif is suggested for the entrance to Turners at Dundalk Avenue and Main Street. Parks with bicycle and kayak rentals are recommended, as are an amphitheater, pavilions and enhanced landscaping.

Dundalk residents who wish to see the Urban Design plan can view it in the cafeteria of the College Center, 7200 Sollers Point Road after 11:30 a.m. today.

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