City, federal agencies agree on brownfields redevelopment

September 25, 2002|BY A SUN STAFF WRITER

A consortium of federal agencies responsible for environmental protection in the mid-Atlantic region has agreed to support Baltimore's efforts to redevelop brownfields and under-used sites along the city's waterfront.

The agreement between Baltimore and the Mid-Atlantic Federal Partners for the Environment - a group that includes regional offices of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service - is designed to encourage "environmentally sensitive economic development" within the city. Besides creating jobs in the city, it is hoped that such development would reduce sprawl and thus improve the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

A ceremony to announce the signing of the agreement - the first in the region between the federal agencies and a local government - will be held at 2 p.m. today at the Living Classrooms Foundation, 802 S. Caroline St.

In what officials describe as a "first example of the new partnership," the EPA is giving the city and the Governor's Office of Smart Growth $45,000 to identify and market sites for redevelopment.

That grant is the only new money being announced with the agreement. But city officials hope the agreement will help the city secure federal funds for bulkhead improvements, wetlands restoration, street projects and other improvements.

"Our Digital Harbor campaign to reposition the city's economy for future growth now has a powerful ally, supporter and potential source of funds through this unique and forward-looking federal partnership," said Mayor Martin O'Malley in a statement.

The agreement gives "first priority" to four redevelopment projects: Harbor Point at the former AlliedSignal site; the Carroll-Camden Industrial Area; Port Covington; and the Waterfront Promenade/Greenway Trail System.

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