Patricia Warble's letter laying blame for the negative transformation of Dundalk to greed, neglect and opportunism truly misses the point of what ails Dundalk and its surrounding communities ("Dundalk needs more than a new marketing plan," June 12). What really ails the area is the loss of good, well-paying middle-class jobs.
As someone who grew up in the area, I can tick off a long list of companies that provided those well-paying jobs over the years that are no longer there: Bethlehem Steel, General Motors, Western Electric, Eastern Stainless, Rheem Manufacturing, American Standard, Signode, Thompson Wire and Owens Boat Builders. Even the U.S. Army at Fort Holabird and the VA at Fort Howard brought in those good jobs.
Those tens upon tens of thousands of jobs are gone. Those jobs are what made Dundalk a good, solid place to live. It's what brought Hochschild Kohn's, Hutzler's and other retailers into one of the first major shopping centers to be built in the Baltimore area, Eastpoint.
Where the writer is correct is Dundalk's need for more than a new marketing plan. This is where the politicians and county government fail the Dundalk area. Unlike the City of Baltimore, Baltimore County has historically taken a laissez-faire approach to development. The development of the Inner Harbor and Harbor East didn't happen with just a marketing plan, and the solutions to what ails Dundalk will not either.
Baltimore County needs to take a more creative and aggressive approach to the revival of Dundalk by increasing job opportunities. While the sale and re-development of the North Point Government Center might provide needed retail to the area, it does not bring in those needed well-paying jobs.
The potential revitalization of Dundalk lies with the land that brought about its creation: Sparrows Point. Baltimore County has an immense opportunity with the potential redevelopment of that site. However, the county must not wait for the property to develop on its own. The county's creation of a development plan is not enough. To do so little will mean more years of continued problems for Dundalk.
Dan Waszelewski, Carney-
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