Masonville dredged material placement project will be home to wildlife habitat, park and community center.

Governor Martin O’Malley and the Board of Public Works approved a wetlands license to the Maryland Port Administration (MPA) to clean up and develop one of the most contaminated areas of Baltimore Harbor. The area, referred to as Masonville, is located near the Brooklyn and Curtis Bay communities and will be constructed using dredged material and redeveloped to benefit wildlife, the local citizenry and the port industry.

‘This project is a win for everyone’the communities of Brooklyn and Curtis Bay, the environment and the Port of Baltimore,’ said Governor O’Malley. ‘Soon, this area will be converted into a park and wildlife habitat that will benefit the public and the environment. This is an excellent example of working closely with neighboring communities to better their quality of life and rebuild something that has long been an eyesore.’

The first step in this project will be to clean up approximately 22 acres of shoreline along Middle River. Ten of these acres have already been cleaned by the MPA. The MPA has already removed about 8,000 tons of trash and debris from the site. The site is the former home of Kurt Iron and Metal and the Maryland Shipbuilding and Drydock Company. Besides trash, there are also 27 abandoned vessels located in the water at the site. Some of these ships will be disposed of, while others will be covered by the dredged material.

This site will be a home for wildlife and waterfowl. A park will also be developed, with access to water recreation like kayaking and canoeing. The project also calls for the construction of a community center, and will provide the residents of Brooklyn and Curtis Bay with direct water access to Middle River. Long range plans call for a portion of this site to eventually be developed as a marine terminal.

Wetlands License Approved

Dredged material placement is expected to begin in late 2009 and be completed around 2039. Once completed, over 16 million cubic yards of dredged material will be placed. Each year one-half million cubic yards of dredged materials will be placed at the site. The cost to construct the project is $130 million.

‘Dredging projects like Masonville benefit the economic aspects of the Port of Baltimore as well as the environment,’ said MPA Executive Director James J. White. ‘Shipping lanes must be dredged to make way for larger vessels entering Maryland waters. This dredged material is then reused to rebuild or renovate existing parcels of land.”

The MPA has been actively assisted in this project by the Members of the Concerned Citizens for a Better Brooklyn and the Brooklyn-Curtis Bay Coalition. They were directly involved in the site selection, creation and development of this project. The project has also enjoyed support from Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon and representatives from the 46th District: Senator George Della and Delegates Brian McHale, Carolyn Krysiak, and Peter Hammen.