The future of more than five miles of land in Sparrows Point no longer lies in in the steel mills.
Owners of the former RG Steel plant plan to sell off a $300 million cold mill and eventually raze the buildings on the property, selling the remains for scrap. A second company that owns the land will end up being responsible for helping the county shape the future of the industrial land, according to County Executive Kevin Kamenetz.
"A century of steel-making as we know it has come to an end," said Kamenetz during a Thursday news conference.
Kamenetz said Hilco Trading which owns some of the buildings and equipment, "plans to liquidate every asset and bring the structures down to the ground."
The announcement brings an end to the plant that had seen its share of financial troubles dating back three decades—first as a result of cheap foriegn steel and more recently a worldwide glut of the commodity.
About 2,000 employees will lose their jobs permanently.
"We don't have any indication that these jobs will come back in the form they knew," Kamenetz said.
"We don't have hope," said the county executive, adding "we do have help."
The county will spend more than $1 million to hire four more workers to do outreach work with displaced steel workers. This is in addition to three county Economic Development employees already doing such work out of an office in Eastpoint.
Meanwhile, the county says it is looking ahead to the future of the waterfront property that is zoned for industrial manufacturing and is roughly the size of White Marsh.
"We're tough here in Baltimore County," Kamenetz said. "We get knocked down and we get back up. We're going to bring thousands of jobs back to this penninsula. We have a game plan in place."
Kamenetz said the county had been preparing for the worst case scenario.
"The handwriting was pretty much on the wall," he said of the expected closure of the plant.
Part of the county's vision for the future of the mill property relies on a work group the county formed earlier this year to look at future uses of the property.
Dan Gundersen, director of Economic Development for the county, said that future could lie in the expansion of the Port of Baltimore as well as other logistical and manufacturing businesses.
"It's really going to open up a lot of opportunity," Gundersen said.
Kamenetz said he expects that Environmental Liability Transfer, the owner of the land and some buildings, will be a partner in that development.
"We expect ELT, as the landowner, to make that future happen," Kamenetz said.