The new year is going to be a big one in Dundalk. As the world figures out how to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic for the third year, a battle over redistricting and other state legislation will run before the state elections this November.
But amid the political season, several projects in the area are expected to be finished, or at least get in motion this year.
It starts in Sparrows Point, where Tradepoint Atlantic announced on Tuesday the launch of its new subsidiary, Tradepoint Terminals, which will take over onloading and offloading at Tradepoint’s marine terminal.
Also at Tradepoint, McCormick’s massive 1.8 million-square-foot distribution center is expected to be complete by the end of the year, and U.S. Wind’s plan to manufacture steel at the shipyard is expected to see progress.
Nearby, county officials are expecting to break ground on the Sparrows Point Park project early this year, on land donated by Tradepoint. When finished, Sparrows Point Park will have a 16,000-square-foot community center with activity rooms and a gym, as well as a playground, turf field, paths and a fishing pier with a kayak launch.
Construction is set to begin this year on a new police and fire substation in Sparrows Point, after the county marked $16 million of the current fiscal year’s budget toward the project. The station will be located on land donated by Tradepoint through the county’s infrastructure deal with the company.
On the roads, the State Highway Administration’s $4 million project to rehabilitate the Cove Road bridge over I-695 is now expected to be complete this winter, and lane shifts are expected to last that long. The SHA’s work on the Sparrows Point Boulevard and Wharf Road interchange in Sparrows Point, however, won’t be done until summer of 2024.
The Maryland General Assembly’s annual legislative session is set to begin next Wednesday, and will bring disagreements over the majority-Democratic legislative redistricting committee’s proposed maps for the next ten years, which detractors say unfairly bends districts to favor Democrats. District 6, which includes Dundalk, remains mostly unchanged in those proposed maps.
Local legislators have vowed to further regulate the Back River Wastewater Treatment Plant this session, after major pollution violations were found there last year. Del. Bob. Long (R) has pre-filed bills to require voter ID and institute a signature verification process on ballots, and Del. Ric Metzgar (R) said he is planning to file a bill to create a state commission of volunteers to assist fathers with visitation and child support, as well as a “Heartbeat Bill,” which would ban abortions if a heartbeat can be detected, except in cases of rape, sexual assault, incest, or issues with the mother’s health.
Statewide, a bill that would bring a referendum to legalize marijuana has been pre-filed by neighboring southeast Baltimore City Del. Luke Clippinger (D), as legislators have vowed to push for legalized recreational use of cannabis.
The session precedes the 2022 midterm election, where voters will cast ballots for a host of state and county candidates.
Democratic County Executive Johnny Olszewski, who lives in the Millers Island area of Edgemere, has announced he is running for his seat again, but has not yet filed, while former Dundalk resident Darren Badillo is in the running on the Republican side to unseat Olszewski.
State Sen. Johnny Ray Salling (R) has filed for re-election, as well as Metzgar and fellow incumbent District 6 Del. Robin Grammer (R). Long has not yet filed, but is expected to.
In the U.S. House of Representatives race for District 2, which will continue to include Dundalk, incumbent Rep. C.A. “Dutch” Ruppersberger (D) has filed federally, as well as Democratic challenger Brittany Oliver, a Patapsco High School graduate and founder of the Not Without Black Women activst group. On the Republican side, Mirabile Lane resident Lorrie Sigley has filed with the state.
Republicans Kelly Schultz and Dan Cox are in a race to replace outgoing Gov. Larry Hogan, as well as former Dundalk resident Joe Werner, a Republican who lives in Essex and recently ran for a U.S. House seat as a Democrat. On the Democratic side of the governor's race, Peter Franchot, Doug Gansler, John King, Jr. and Tom Perez have announced they are running, but none have filed.