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After being analyzed for environmental hazards as part of the state’s voluntary cleanup program, Port Deposit’s Bainbridge property has been accepted into a federal brownfields program that means the Environmental Protection Agency will be further studying the site.

In the meantime, the Bainbridge Development Corporation, a quasi-public organization created by the state and county to oversee redevelopment of the former federal property, is continuing to have issues with the group it chose to develop the property for a mix of housing and offices.

The EPA will be on-site through June to characterize the property and to validate whether the concerns expressed earlier by Maryland Department of the Environment are accurate, Donna Tapley, BDC’s executive director, said.

“Since last spring, we have been working with regulatory agencies to obtain stimulus funding to describe the site conditions,” Tapley said. “The board has taken action to get the property environmentally characterized and provide infrastructure so development can go forward.”

Tapley said the award for the EPA program was given in December 2009 and launched this January.

The brownfields program is part of the process leading up to the completion of the cleanup program, Jay Apperson, a spokesman for Maryland Department of the Environment, said.

“BDC requested that the EPA do brownfields work using stimulus funding. EPA has selected a contractor to do this work. The purpose is to better refine the nature and extent of the contamination prior to the development of a response action plan,” Apperson said.

At its March 15 meeting, BDC board members also approved a cure notice to the developer, a team of local developers called MTPM, for failing to fulfill the requirement it agreed to in 2004 to provide water and sewer service to the property.

Tapley said the issue has been complicated by the fact that Cecil County recently took over Port Deposit’s wastewater treatment plant and the exact provider of water and sewer service to Bainbridge is less than clear.

For the past year, progress on redeveloping Bainbridge has ground to a stop, largely because of internal strife within the development group that originally consisted of Clark Turner, Manekin Corporation of Baltimore and John Paterakis, owner of H&S Properties in Baltimore.

Turner, a Harford County-based developer, is believed to have left the group, though BDC members are reluctant to discuss the situation.

Tapley did confirm there have been recent negotiations with the prospective developer aimed at getting the project moving.

The BDC board also recently approved selective harvesting of timber, which began within the past month and is intended to keep the forest healthy and provide operating funds for the corporation.

Tapley said the property should be ready for construction to start in 2011, with the environmental characterization of the property under way and the sewer agreement completed with the county.

The board also approved an agreement allowing Delmarva Power to use part of the facility for parking and staging of materials.


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