Planning for the revitalization of Baltimore’s Middle Branch waterfront is getting back on track, with the pending hiring of a design team led by a prominent consultant who has worked on transformative projects such as the High Line in New York City.
Baltimore’s Board of Estimates is scheduled this week to approve a request to commission James Corner Field Operations and other project partners to update a master plan guiding development along11 miles of shoreline on the southern edge of Baltimore, framing the Middle Branch of the Patapsco River.
In 2016, Baltimoreans organized to demand community investment from a developer seeking one of the largest subsidies in city history.
Sagamore Development had planned a brand-new mixed-use waterfront neighborhood that would host a corporate campus for Under Armour, one of Baltimore’s biggest business success stories. In pursuit of a $535 million package to finance roads, rail, parks, and other public improvements at Port Covington, the developers appeared at a Baltimore City Council hearing, displaying projections that Under Armour staff would quadruple over two decades and saying, “It’s grow here or grow somewhere else.”
Community leaders and citizens showed up by the hundreds, buoyed by the civic energy that had followed Freddie Gray’s death a year earlier. Many objected to what they saw as inequitable development: the city’s repeated use of financing packages to spur development of downtown and waterfront neighborhoods rather than the city’s poorer sections.
The city and Sagamore struck a deal in September 2016 after months of acrimony over whether the package was truly beneficial to all city residents or a giveaway to a well-connected developer. Four years later, Baltimore is about to learn whether lofty promises about affordable housing, jobs and minority investment will come true.
Ignored by and large for decades as the Inner Harbor, Fells Point and other harbor locales redeveloped, the Middle Branch of the Patapsco River is now due for a beautification.
Three national landscape architecture firms have submitted proposals, unveiled today, for a planned waterfront park stretching 11 miles of shoreline in Cherry Hill, Westport, Brooklyn, Port Covington and other neighborhoods in view of the Hanover Street Bridge.
One day after the city blamed a Baltimore Gas and Electric-contracted crew for damaging a sewer line in Westport and sending thousands of gallons of sewage flowing out by the hour, the utility giant is saying was actually a city contractor that caused the foul leak.
In a classic case of utility work gone horribly wrong, a contractor for Baltimore Gas and Electric today damaged what the Baltimore City Department of Public Works says is a “large sewer line” in Westport, sending human waste flowing into the Patapsco River’s Middle Branch nearby.