Michael Thompson, a community leader of Turner Station, speaks at a news conference at Tradepoint Atlantic announcing legislation that he says will bring jobs to his neighborhood. Credit: John Lee

Turner Station, an historically Black neighborhood south of Dundalk in Baltimore County, has for years seen jobs vanish and residents move away.

The community is hoping legislation being introduced by U.S. Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger, a Democrat, will help reverse its economic decline.

Turner Station qualifies as an economically depressed opportunity zone which means businesses that locate there and create jobs can get tax incentives.

Next door to Turner Station is a mega job creator, Tradepoint Atlantic, the global shipping center being developed on the site once home to Bethlehem Steel. Tradepoint cannot qualify as an opportunity zone because it’s an industrial site. No one lives there.

Congressman Ruppersberger’s legislation, named the Rust to Revitalization Act, would change that, by letting Tradepoint piggyback on Turner Station’s opportunity zone.

Under Ruppersberger’s legislation, a site with no population would qualify as an opportunity zone if it had been used previously for industry and had been contaminated. The site at Sparrows Point was polluted by decades of steelmaking.

Ruppersberger said, “It must also be adjacent on at least one side to a populated census tract that is already an opportunity zone.”

That’s where Turner Station comes in.

Read more (and listen) at WYPR.