BALTIMORE, MD - Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake personally welcomed newcomers to Maryland and the city of Baltimore during a Base Realignment and Closure Housewarming Event sponsored by Live Baltimore Nov. 12 at the home of two of the city's newest residents.

John and Stephanie White, both employees of the U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Command who relocated here with the command as a result of implementation of 2005 BRAC law, opened their home to neighbors, city officials and local organizations for an hour that Friday evening. The couple relocated to the area from Fort Monmouth, N.J., and chose to live in the heart of Baltimore City in Upper Fells Point.

"I get excited when I meet a new city resident. But today's event is special because you [John and Stephanie White] are putting the face on BRAC," said Rawlings-Blake during her welcome address.

Since BRAC 2005 legislation was passed, the city has taken a particular interest in raising the awareness of what Baltimore has to offer. Live Baltimore has remained focused on having a presence at Fort Monmouth to answer questions about the Baltimore area and encourage newcomers to consider Baltimore City as their new home. Live Baltimore has conducted six bus trips to Baltimore area neighborhoods, including the Inaugural Green Light Tour which had six busloads of New Jersey participants, according to Steven Gondol, Live Baltimore BRAC relocation manager.

"We have one message to our BRAC audience; we love city life, and we know you'll love city life too," said Gondol.

And that message was well received by the Whites.

"I can't say enough about Live Baltimore," said Stephanie. "They were so engaged with the workforce in New Jersey and passionate about showing us what Baltimore had to offer."

"We have established a dedicated customer network of more than 1,000 potential new residents through our enews, website, network and events and direct marketing campaign," said Gondol.

The Whites are one of thousands of families and personnel expected to move to Maryland as a result of BRAC implementation. The couple commutes everyday from the city to Aberdeen Proving Ground in Harford County about 25 miles away.

"Going to work together really saves on the gas bill," said Stephanie, who works as an events planner and business development specialist for CECOM. "We did a lot of research and just fell in love with this area. Once we visited, we knew we wanted to be in the city," she continued.

With a son at Towson University, the newcomers expressed excitement about living the city life, and boasted about walking access to local areas of interest in what John refers to as, a transforming area.

"I love this city, I love the diversity," said Stephanie. "It's called Charm City for a reason, I feel like I'm home."