On April 19, 2007, the City of Baltimore’s health department abruptly closed a popular park in South Baltimore where local city teams, high schools and neighborhood children played. The city found arsenic contamination and blamed our client, Honeywell. Honeywell took responsibility for the cleanup because its predecessor company next to the park produced chemicals and arsenic was a component in the processing. Trial lawyer Peter Angelos began interviewing potential victims, while a Johns Hopkins University’s study on cancer clusters in South Baltimore gained prominence. Meantime, the Baltimore Sun questioned whether it was safe to live near the park.
Our team helped Honeywell launch a program to tell its story about how the park would be cleaned up and transformed. We told our story directly to community groups, elected officials,local businesses and sporting groups that used the park through a website, small-group meetings, mailings and phone calls. We explained the park’s cleanup in detail, how long it would take, how many trucks would haul away contaminated soil, and what the park would look like when the work was completed.
Our team helped Honeywell put together a grand opening of the new park complete with lights,new ball fields and a walking track. Local baseball teams competed, elected officials, including the mayor, attended and the media wrote positive stories. The conversation about a polluted field disappeared and was replaced with positive coverage about Honeywell.