Reporting Meghan McCorkell
SPARROWS POINT, Md. (WJZ) — Ten thousand jobs could be coming to Baltimore County with a new plan to redevelop Sparrows Point.
Once a booming steel town, the area’s been struggling since the mill shut down for good last year.
Meghan McCorkell has more on the plan to bring that community back.
The new proposal includes expanding the Port of Baltimore into Sparrows Point, a move that could generate thousands of jobs.
The giant steel mill–once the center of activity in Sparrows Point–is now a ghost town.
“Everybody worked there. People lived there, they worked there,” said Mike Ballerstadt, Sparrows Point.
But more than a century of steelmaking ended last May when the mill shut down, putting thousands out of work. For businesses in the area, it’s been a devastating blow.
“Our clientele has dropped. It has had an effect on everybody,” said Jimmy Nail, BingoRama.
Now there’s a new plan to breathe life back into the community.
“We think that Sparrows Point peninsula can once again be the job center for all of Baltimore County,” said Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz.
A proposal would ultimately turn part of the 3,300 acre peninsula into a new state-of-the-art marine terminal for the Port of Baltimore, putting thousands back to work.
“A lot of those jobs would be good paying, blue collar, family supporting jobs,” said Richard Scher, Port of Baltimore.
The port had a record-breaking year in 2012, bringing in more cars than any port in the U.S.
The rest of Sparrows Point could be developed for renewable energy facilities, advanced manufacturing and distribution and logistics parks.
In the 1950s, Sparrows Point was one of the largest steel mills in the world, with more than 30,000 workers. By the time it closed, just 2,000 workers remained.
“They need to get this all back together again and get things going again. This is a mess. It’s a mess,” said Ballerstadt.
Many are hoping this could be the dawn of a new day in Sparrows Point.
Officials say it could take 10-12 years to get the new marine terminal up and running.
The Port of Baltimore is currently negotiating with the land owner of Sparrows Point to purchase part of the property.