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Sagamore Development Co. and six South Baltimore neighborhood groups on Tuesday formalized a community coalition that will pave the way for Sagamore to deliver on the community benefits promised as part of the Port Covington redevelopment.

Under the previously signed community benefits agreement, Sagamore, Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank's private real estate firm, must work with the six neighborhoods surrounding its planned $5.5 billion Port Covington development on economic, education, environmental and social initiatives that will improve those communities.

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Port Covington is envisioned as a large mixed-use project anchored by a new Under Armour campus.

A new group, called SB7 Coalition Inc., will lead those community-oriented efforts and spearhead fundraising. Sagamore committed $10 million and the group is expected to raise an additional $10 million, said Alicia Wilson, Sagamore's vice president of community affairs and a legal advisor.

"The agreement puts on paper what we spoke about during the community benefits process, which was not only allowing philanthropy to flow into these six communities but more importantly allowing for a partnership to be created, where Sagamore and the communities work hand-in-hand," Wilson said. "Really this is the start of all that work in addressing the needs in the community."

Sagamore leaders and neighborhood representatives from Brooklyn, Cherry Hill, Curtis Bay, Lakeland, Mt. Winans and Westport gathered Tuesday at the Cherry Hill Community Center for a signing ceremony to formally create the group and to hold its first meeting.

Michael Middleton, a lifelong Baltimore resident who leads the Cherry Hill Community Coalition, said the partnership with Sagamore has brought together neighbors to work toward shared community and economic development goals.

"Historically, our communities never had an opportunity to come together," said Middleton, who is also chair of SB7. "We were separated by neighborhoods and, frankly, by race."

Middleton said he is optimistic that by working together — and with Sagamore's backing — the neighborhoods can make progress toward creating new jobs, improving education and creating new resources for youth.

"We're now able to transform the nature of this community and the communities surrounding the Port Covington development," he said.

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