Church leaders press for an equitable BRAC

Families, environment to be focus of meeting

October 23, 2007

A group of Baltimore-area church leaders plan to press state and local officials Thursday night to ensure that the influx of jobs and people from military base realignment does not harm Maryland's environment or the region's working families.

Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown, Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon and several legislators are expected to attend the meeting of BRIDGE, a coalition of area congregations committed to improving social equity, said Gary Gillespie, a spokesman for the group. BRIDGE stands for Baltimore Regional Initiative Developing Genuine Equality. The session will be at 7 p.m. at Wayland Baptist Church, 3200 Garrison Blvd. in Baltimore and is open to the public.

Elected officials will be asked to subscribe to a set of principles the group believes should guide government planning for base realignment, Gillespie said. Among the goals are: work force training, mixed-income housing, compact development and expanded transit to minimize sprawl and harm to the Chesapeake Bay.

Base realignment "can be an unparalleled opportunity to revitalize our region, if it calls forth a morally sound, regional, coordinated and comprehensive approach," says the group's statement of principles. How we respond ... can enhance community life, economic opportunity and the environment or dramatically diminish all of these."

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