For years, the State Center Neighborhood Alliance, in various forms, has been working hard to ensure that the neighbors bordering this large parcel benefit from its development. Their ten years of work finally may be coming to fruition.
On March 21, a consortium of twelve West Baltimore organizations gathered near the site of the proposed State Center redevelopment project to sign a Community Benefits Agreement (CBA) with project developer State Center, LLC.
The agreement governs the community process for this extensive redevelopment, mandating that the West Baltimore community organizations and adjacent institutions most affected by the site will have a say in how the project is implemented.
This CBA is of historic import, as it is the first in Baltimore for a project of this scale. Kristine Dunkerton, executive director of the Community Law Center, said, “It is surely a national model of a binding contract between grassroots organizations and a developer. It demonstrates the benefits of a developer taking the time to listen, include the needs, and address the concerns of well-organized area residents with a long term commitment of working together.”
Under the agreement, the developer must:
- involve the community in planning, designing, and implementation of the redevelopment;
- improve access to transit;
- generate community jobs and leverage job training for local residents;
- provide for environmentally sensitive construction and design;
- work toward commercial synergy with surrounding areas; and
- help finance additional community-led projects.
The State Center project was originally put into motion 10 years ago by former Governor Robert Ehrlich, and is currently awaiting final approval from the Hogan administration. If the Governor gives has go ahead, Phase One of the development is ready to go immediately.
A special thank you goes to neighbor John Kyle, who is both the president of the State Center Neighborhood Alliance and MRIA’s representative to the alliance.