|Stadium Place Draws Community Support, Political Opposition|
A rally on Sunday, January 7, to support Stadium Place garnered over 150 petition signatures. The Stadium Place project would use the Memorial Stadium site for affordable housing for the elderly, a community YMCA, and a health clinic. The State Board of Public Work has delayed approving a demolition contract for Memorial Stadium despite funds already being allocated.
Political opposition to Stadium Place has grown during recent months, with State Comptroller William Donald Schaefer urging that the stadium be preserved. The comptroller is one of three voting members of the State Board of Public Works, the body that controls all state contracts.
Its a very ambitious project and Im not sure one that is a fitting use for the entire thirty acres, states Baltimore City Delegate Kenneth Montague, who says he has been communicating with the Board of Public Works in relation to Stadium Place. There are some worthwhile parts worth preserving but they dont need the whole site...Stadium Place could be modified to allow other development which would yield revenue for the City and be an anchor for the community.
A Sun architecture review article on the day of the rally urged that Johns Hopkins University take over the site for a technology park. How that would happen after Stadium Place was awarded the exclusive rights to develop the site is unclear. According to Julia Pierson, a staff member for Stadium Place developer Govans Ecumenical Develop-ment Corporation (GEDCO), Hopkins is not interested in the site and furthermore was unable to find non-Hopkins tenants for their Eastern High School project across the road.
Hopkins has no non-Hopkins tenants for their Eastern High School site, why would we be able to get them? asks Pierson in response to Del. Montagues proposal of a hybrid project. Montague has his opinion, everyone has their opinion, but a hybrid project or technology park is just not viable for that location.
A rally to preserve Memorial Stadium, cited in the January 7 Sun article, drew about 15 people and the petition cited has about 20-25 signatures from people in the immediate neighborhood, says Pierson, pointing out that the rally in support of Stadium Place drew over 10 times that number even during a Ravens play-off game.
Stadium Place was selected in 1999 over competing proposals, including one to convert the existing stadium into a technology park, and has been approved by the City Planning Commission.
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This story was published on January 3, 2001.