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Sagamore, city launch contest for Port Covington park bench design

Baltimore, MD -- A bench in front of the Courthouse East on Calvert Street is covered with snow and depicts one of the slogan's with which the city has decorated its benches .
Baltimore, MD -- A bench in front of the Courthouse East on Calvert Street is covered with snow and depicts one of the slogan's with which the city has decorated its benches . (Barbara Haddock Taylor / Baltimore Sun)

The developer of Port Covington and the city arts office are soliciting designs for a street bench and possible slogan to be used throughout the large South Baltimore project, in a nod to what is practically a Baltimore tradition of grandiose statements on park benches.

The online application says Sagamore Development and Baltimore Office of Promotion & the Arts are looking for a bench that tells "a story about the hardworking heritage and history of Baltimore and the Port Covington site, be engaging for the public, be connected specifically to local materials or manufacturing and be an iconic design."

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Historic iterations of the idea include benches tagged with "Baltimore: The City that Reads" and "Baltimore: The Greatest City in America."

The competition is one way Sagamore Development, the real estate firm owned by Under Armour founder and CEO Kevin Plank, has said it plans to engage the public with the project, which includes a new headquarters for Under Armour, as well as a mixed-use redevelopment with more than 7,500 residences, 200-plus hotel rooms and offices.

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A first round of applications is due April 29.

A 10-person jury that includes city officials, a Sagamore Development representative, design professionals and local stakeholders will review the applications, announcing up to five semi-finalists, who will receive $2,000 each, May 19. The winner will be announced at the end of August.

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