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Sparrows Point advisory group formed to spur developement, jobsBaltimore Business Journal on June 8, 2012
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Baltimore Business Journal by James Bach, Staff
Date: Wednesday, May 30, 2012, 12:10pm EDT - Last Modified: Wednesday, May 30, 2012, 5:38pm EDT Baltimore County
The Eastern Baltimore County area inside the red line will be studied to help spur economic development and create jobs.
The areas targeted include Dundalk, Middle River and White Marsh. The initiative is part of a plan to bolster industry tied to increased business expected at the Port of Baltimore.
Under the plan, a group of 16 business leaders in a wide swath of industries including manufacturing, real estate, and transportation will form the Sparrows Point Partnership.
The group will be tasked with studying the economic development potential of the area by looking at transportation, infrastructure and environmental needs. The group will advise the county on the best uses for industrially zoned properties on the Sparrows Point peninsula, the area closest to the Seagirt Marine Terminal.
Members of the group include Greater Baltimore Committee CEO and Port Commissioner Donald C. Fry, Blue & Obrecht Realty chair Tom Obrecht and Mike Galiazzo, president of the Regional Manufacturing Institute. Dan Gundersen, executive director of the Baltimore County Department of Economic Development, will chair the partnership.
The group will be charged with proposing strategies to the county’s Department of Economic Development and formulating an action plan.
The initiative is important for the Sparrows Point area, said Del. John Olszewski Jr., D-Baltimore County, because the area is struggling to take full advantage of the resources it has.
“I think it’s more imperative now than ever to really set forth a long-term strategic plan for ways to effectively utilize, quite frankly, a lot of assets that aren’t being fully capitalized on,” Olszewski said, adding that the area has a large amount of industrial land that “isn’t being utilized to its fullest capacity.”
The study will also look into how to best take advantage of the Port of Baltimore, which is poised to be one of only two ports on the East Coast capable to accommodate “super ships” coming out of the Panama Canal once an expansion is complete in 2014. County spokeswoman Fronda Cohen said this will bring further economic opportunity to the port.
The news comes just a week after RG Steel LLC announced plans to idle operations at its Sparrows Point steel mill within the next month, which could result in potential layoffs. Cohen said the city is hopeful that steel-making will remain a prominent industry in the area.
Olszewski added that without an initiative to look toward economic development initiatives, the Sparrows Point area is “never going to see the kind of developments and economic growth that people can and should expect.”
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