Mayor Rawlings-Blake and Other City Officials Celebrate Ainsworth Paint Demolition with Community
Friday Feb 24th, 2012
Better Schools. Safer Streets. Stronger Neighborhoods.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Today, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, Baltimore City Council President Bernard “Jack” Young, Baltimore City Councilman Warren Branch, Baltimore Development Corporation (BDC) President M.J. “Jay” Brodie and Baltimore City Department of General Services (DGS) Director Theodore Atwood joined members of the Berea and Orangeville communities for a demolition event for the former Ainsworth Paint facility at 3200 East Biddle Street in East Baltimore.
The Ainsworth Paint facility produced Fuller-O’Brien paints for more than 30 years before the O’Brien Corporation sold it to Ainsworth Paint and Chemical Corporation in the mid-1980s. Ainsworth, which made paint for boats and ships, stopped production at Biddle Street in 1988 after losing a federal contract and falling into financial difficulties. The approximately 1.5 acre site, which contained a 42,354 square foot manufacturing facility and a smaller laboratory building, has since been vacant and became blighted and a nuisance to the nearby communities.
“Today we are celebrating the beginning of a new chapter – scraping away the old to prepare for new growth in East Baltimore,” said Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake. “Working with BDC, residents and community leaders helped to ensure that we could eliminate this blight and start building a bright future for the surrounding neighborhoods.”
In 2007, at the request of BDC, the City Council approved an ordinance allowing the City to acquire the property via condemnation. This action was strongly supported by the surrounding community. BDC was also successful in its request to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) to release its $1.1 million lien against the property. Further, BDC asked the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency not to pursue further cost recovery actions for emergency work completed in 1995, which they agreed to. These actions were approved based upon the City’s acquisition of the property for economic development purposes.
After months of negotiation with a representative of the previous owner to acquire the property, the City decided that condemnation was necessary. The City received title via an Inquisition issued by Baltimore City Circuit Court on April 14, 2010.
"We are happy that the Ainsworth demolition project is underway and these buildings are finally coming down,” said BDC President Jay Brodie. “Cleaning up the site for future job creation and returning the property to the City’s tax roles is a priority for BDC.”
In April 2011, the Baltimore City Department of General Services advertised the demolition project. The contract was awarded by the Board of Estimates to Potts & Callahan in September 2011. BDC, DGS and Potts & Callahan then met with the Berea community in December 2011 to inform them of the demolition project and to respond to any questions.
“Of all the work we do everyday for City agencies, none is quite as fulfilling as work that contributes to the vibrancy and growth of a community,” said Department of General Services Director Theodore Atwood. “We look forward to the completion of this project for a better and stronger East Baltimore.” “The former Ainsworth Paint Factory demolition project has been a long-time coming,” said Margie Fleming Brinkley, Vice President, Eastside Neighborhood Community Association – Berea. “The Berea community shares optimism for what is ahead as this project is one more important move in our history. We remain profoundly diligent in our efforts to keep our community on the continuously growing map of East Baltimore.”