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Bethlehem Steel’s legacy at Sparrows Point requires context | READER COMMENTARY

Aerial shot of the land Baltimore County is planning to develop as Sparrows Point Park with a 16,000-square foot community center, a 10,000-square foot playground and full-size turf athletic field. (Kevin Richardson/Baltimore Sun).
Aerial shot of the land Baltimore County is planning to develop as Sparrows Point Park with a 16,000-square foot community center, a 10,000-square foot playground and full-size turf athletic field. (Kevin Richardson/Baltimore Sun). (Kevin Richardson / Baltimore Sun)

Yes, Bethlehem Steel was “polluted,” but it was a time and place affair. Regrettable now, but pollution standards did not exist then, nor did the means to abate. As time passed, state of art controls were installed. However, steelmaking remains by its nature somewhat untamed.

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Reading the article, it seemed like an “all take and no give” by Bethlehem to the adjacent communities. Within the town of Sparrows Point were several athletic fields, open spaces and Pennwood Field, which is probably within the proposed park’s boundary. There was no mention of the land given to North Point Park. No mention of Bethlehem’s support of local charities, the YMCA and more. Bethlehem’s operations required prodigious amounts of goods and services, most of which were obtained locally or within 100 miles.

During World War II, Bethlehem produced many Liberty ships and much more. The company’s steel produced many iconic landmarks, including the Golden Gate Bridge. Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski, Jr. is right: “When that sound went away, a lot was lost.”

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I think Tradepoint Atlantic is putting the property to good use, and I wish them well.

Alan McConnell, Parkville

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