County residents continue to oppose Worldbridge center


Once again, residents of southeast Baltimore County filled a public hearing last night to speak out against plans for an Asian cultural center.

Keith Roberts was one of about 100 residents who gathered at 7:30 p.m. in the County Council chamber in Towson for the public hearing.

Mr. Roberts chose to address his comments to County Councilman Vincent Gardina, D-5th, who represents the district where Worldbridge would be located.

He called for a show of hands in the room for people who were opposed to Worldbridge and nearly every hand went up. "Mr. Councilman, you defeated a 16-year incumbent," Mr. Roberts said. "The thousands who voted for you were sending you a message that they oppose it."

For more than two years Asia/USA Development Corp., which is headed by developer Dean L. Gitter, has been planning the Asian theme park and trade center for a 1,000-acre tract in Middle River that would include a retail center, residential community, golf course and some hotels.

Chris T. Delaporte, director of development for the Worldbridge project, said that it could generate 28,000 jobs and $1.7 billion a year. "It would have 15 times the economic impact of the National Aquarium," he said.

Deborah Brill, who lives in the area, questioned how it would affect roads and how fire and police departments could handle the crowds. "It's good to know what the economic impact would be, but what about the impact on other things?" she asked.

County Council members are still gathering information on the project.

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