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Strong City plans south Baltimore rebound

Strong City Baltimore, in conjunction with several surrounding communities, has released a plan designed to help bring new economic development to communities in south Baltimore and northern Anne Arundel County hit hard by deindustrialization.

Strong City, a nonprofit dedicated to creating “vibrant urban living,” released Wednesday the Greater Baybrook Vision & Action Plan aimed at resurrecting the Brooklyn, Curtis Bay and Brooklyn Park communities identified with the peninsula’s working waterfront that have been hard hit by deindustrialization.

Solving the area’s problem housing market is one of the top priorities identified in the document for stimulating growth in a region still feeling the impact of the 2008 financial crisis.

“As a result of the crisis, a large number of former homeownership units have been subdivided into below market quality rental units. The lack of investment in these units has depressed housing prices in the area, making it difficult to promote scattered site homeownership development,” the report states.

The communities are also searching for an anchor to replace the maritime industry that provided blue-collar jobs that were the backbone of these communities prior to deindustrialization.

“Smaller nonprofit stakeholders, such as schools and churches, have tried to fill that hole, but a strong anchor entity is needed to guide redevelopment over the coming years,” the report states.

Plans to revive these communities come as Sagamore Development pursues a $5.5 billion overhaul of the Port Covington portion of the city just to the north of these communities.

The massive redevelopment of 260-acres of underused industrial land into a mixed-use project with plans for 13,500 residential units, 200 hotel rooms and 1.5 million square feet of office space during the next 25 years could have major ripple effects on these communities.

Sagamore has already signed an agreement with the Brooklyn, Cherry Hill, Curtis Bay, Lakeland, Mt. Winans and Westport communities to provide $40 million over two decades for job training, youth employment, economic development, recreation facilities and other community needs.

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