Curtis Bay Strategic Planning 2022-23 Priority Actions

Roads & Transportation: A safe and beautiful Main Street for Curtis Bay

Curtis Bay needs a main street. A 2015 Baltimore City Plan determined that converting Pennington ave back to a 2 way street is feasible and would support Curtis Bay’s vision for a safe and vibrant Main Street. The plan falls short by failing to address the need to re-route diesel trucks away from the residential heart of the community. Currently, both Pennington and Curtis Ave function as a high speed diesel truck routes with upwards of 40-60 trucks passing by our homes, parks, businesses, churches and recreation center per hour. Our goal is to implement a community driven plan that delivers a healthy main street on Pennington Ave and re-routes all diesel trucks away from the residential heart of Curtis Bay as part of a structural change delivering negotiated benefits to our community from port activity while reducing harms.

What is holding us back? We are struggling to get basic transparency from our City officials on the status of completing an environmental study related to the 2015 Pennington Ave Plan. We have requested money to be allocated in the capital budget every year for a community driven solution. 

What can you do right now? Write to our City Council Representative Phylicia Porter and state that Curtis Bay needs a community driven plan for a main street while re-routing diesel trucks away from residential core of Curtis Bay. Our priority has not and will not change until we see follow through on what we have already started. You can reach Councilwoman Porter by email at: Phylicia.Porter@baltimorecity.gov 

Housing: Transform all Curtis Bay’s Vacants into community assets 

Curtis Bay needs quality homes for all residents. Right now, our small community has 129 vacant homes with active code violations. Vacants are used for illegal dumping, bring down our quality of life and are a waste of resources that could be used to build up our community. Our goal is to turn those 129 vacants that are blighting our community into assets for our community over the next 5 years. 

What is holding us back? We know that it costs more to fix a vacant than it can be sold for as of now in our community. It is unacceptable to have these vacant homes deteriorate until market conditions change. We have embraced a vision of development without displacement which means that we want Curtis Bay to develop without pushing out the people who are currently living here and making it the place we love. To solve this problem, we have already raised millions of dollars in partnership with SBCLT to create our first 15 units of permanently affordable housing. The homes are made affordable and kept affordable through raising enough money to do so and not by cutting corners on labor or quality. Other partners have turned vacants into stable transitional housing for residents. 

This work only grows if Curtis Bay secures the money needed to turn vacants into affordable homes for the community. Baltimore City has committed millions of dollars each year for this purpose but is failing to get the money out the door to communities at the pace needed to get the job done.  

What can you do right now? Write to the Affordable Housing Trust Fund Commission and the Department of Housing Community Development and let them know we need more money coming out the door into communities like Curtis Bay to get the work done turning around our vacant housing crisis. You can reach Housing Commissioner Kennedy at: Alice.Kennedy@baltimorecity.gov

Trash, Pollution and Environmental Justice: Create a community owned Zero Waste Resource Recovery and Education Center

Curtis Bay needs community owned zero waste infrastructure and high standards for our industrial neighbors to turn around a hundred plus year history of being treated like a dumping ground. Our community sits next to the City landfill, the nations largest med waste incinerator and the BRESCO incinerator, the second largest coal terminal on the east coast, and a host of oil gas and chemical companies. As a result, we live with the reality that explosions like the two that happened over the past several months and the dozens that have happened over the years will continue to threaten our physical, emotional and psychological well being. We also live with the health impacts of exposure to the cumulative pollution burden to our air land and water coming from a regulatory framework that refuses to account for the fact that communities like ours are surrounded by a multitude of pollution sources.

What is holding us back? Despite over a hundred years of explosions, leaks, spills, dumping  and the displacement of our neighbors in Hawkins Point, Wagner’s Point and Fairfield…the fundamental issue of the health of Curtis Bay residents has been systematically ignored by cycle after cycle of officials. In 2022 it is unacceptable for our public officials to turn a blind eye to the health and safety consequences of allowing dozens of major polluting industries to concentrate next to a residential community. 

What can you do right now? Write to Baltimore City DPW Director Jason Mitchell and ask him to agree to a co-equal development process to set a new standard for industrial development around Curtis Bay. Let him know that only by working together with communities and anchor institutions can we end Baltimore’s addiction to burning, burying and dumping trash while polluting our communities. By creating a community owned and governed  Zero Waste Resource Recovery Park and eduction center we can start diverting what’s currently being waste at the incinerator and the landfill while creating good local jobs for residents. You can reach Director Mitchell at Jason.Mitchell@baltimorecity.gov 

Work plan for achieving our Strategic Vision 

CCBA is a volunteer led organization 100% governed by people who live and/or work in Curtis Bay with deep community ties and a demonstrated commitment to environmental justice, development without displacement, local job creation, youth leadership developmentā€¦and an unyielding belief that building community power is the only way for the interests of Curtis Bay to be realized. 

We believe in practicing, not just saying we believe in transparency, and to that end we are sharing our progress and obstacles in realizing our community vision.