If you haven’t had the opportunity to pick up the latest edition of Baltimore Magazine, you may want to consider doing so. The March 2016 edition includes an excellent article on the public-private partnerships that Baltimore City has developed and how the city plans to leverage those partnerships to bolster Baltimore in the next 20 years.
While Baltimore County ins’t Baltimore City, we too can benefit from public-private partnerships. One such partnership worthy of further examination and investment is with TradePoint Atlantic, formerly Sparrows Point Terminal. This site in Baltimore County has access to some of the deepest water on the East Coast — a key asset we need to utilize to create meaningful economic development.
One part of that development will be tackling the issue of dredge placement. Currently, parts of the site sit within a legislatively-mandated 5 mile exclusion area for dredge placement. To ensure that we continue facilitating job growth, those dredging restrictions may deserve re-examination. If properly engineered, dredge placement at the site formerly known as Coke Point, for example, could provide significant economic benefits. Placement of dredge material in an engineered containment facility could both support necessary pollution containment while also allowing expansion at TradePoint Atlantic. Such an expansion could ultimately include a new port terminal on the TradePoint Atlantic site, leading to at least hundreds, if not thousands, of well-paid jobs. Moreover, such an effort could improve the water quality of both Bear Creek and the Patapsco River. This type of approach has already successfully been done at Masonville in Baltimore City, where the project has included a placement for dredge material and several direct benefits to the surrounding community. A public-private partnership formed between Maryland Port Administration, Baltimore County and TradePoint Atlantic could have many positive far-reaching affects for the local community and environment. It could also be a key component of the job growth strategy along the Sparrows Point peninsula. As our county continues to evolve and move into a changing economy, it is worthwhile to consider the ways in which more public-private partnerships can improve the quality of life for Baltimore County residents, create jobs, and allow for continued innovation and adaption.