Future of Kingsley Park site to be discussed

Balto. Co. complex subject of two meetings this week

August 24, 2004|By Joe Nawrozki | Joe Nawrozki,SUN STAFF

The next steps to redevelop Kingsley Park Apartments, a dilapidated, crime-ridden complex in eastern Baltimore County, will be taken this week when residents and community leaders gather in two separate meetings.

At 7 o'clock this evening, residents of Kingsley Park will be updated on suggestions for the future of the site and will be given information on moving assistance that's being provided by the county. The meeting will held at St. Stephen African Methodist Episcopal Church, Old Eastern Avenue and Back River Neck Road.

Officials said 80 Kingsley residents have selected new homes and will move Sept. 1.

At 7 p.m. Thursday, community and business leaders along with other area stakeholders will be briefed on early ideas for the site's future. A location for the meeting had not been selected as of yesterday, but it will be near the apartment complex, an official said.

"A lot of effort, 12 years' worth, has gone into the county acquiring Kingsley Park," said Timothy M. Kotroco, director of the Department of Permits and Development Management. "There was some concern that the effort would have been dropped after a change in administrations, but the east-side renaissance has kept its momentum."

Plans call for the county to provide moving assistance to about 440 tenants. The help will include federal housing assistance vouchers. After the moves are completed, the county will demolish the buildings for a complex that could feature low-income housing for the elderly and moderately priced single-family homes.

The meetings this week are part of a 30-day period for public comment before the county takes title to the property Sept. 4.

Under a deal that Kotroco said has been finalized by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Baltimore County Council, the county will pay the property owner, Judith S. Siegel, president of Landex Corp., $2.2 million. The deal is part of an agreement that will transfer ownership of the 18-acre property on Old Eastern Boulevard to the county. The county would also assume about $500,000 to $600,000 in back payments for utilities and other bills.

Called an important advance in the revitalization of the county's waterfront by County Executive James T. Smith Jr., the razing of the squat, red-brick apartment complex will mark the end of a place born in the World War II boomtown of Essex-Middle River. Kingsley Park has faded into what police describe as a drug-infested complex rife with violent crime.

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