Mayor’s Office Releases Year 1 Casino Impact Funds Spending Plan

| December 9, 2013 | 0 Comments

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With the Horseshoe Baltimore Casino (Caesars) nearing a Fall 2014 completion, the Baltimore Casino Local Development Council (BLDC) has been busy preparing recommendations for the Mayor’s Office about how to spend the local impact funds which will begin in Fiscal Year (FY) 2015 (October ’14-September ’15). The impact funds are projected to produce $7-$10 million in FY 2015 and $15-20 million in future years.

The BLDC is made up of 15 members including Senator Bill Ferguson, Delegate Luke Clippinger, Councilman Ed Reisinger, local developer Samuel Himmerlich, Matt Tary of Vac Pac Inc., Pastor Alvin J. Gwynn of Leadenhall Baptist Church, and Chad Barnhill of Horseshoe Baltimore, as well as a representative from Westport Neighborhood Association, Westport Community, Sharp-Leadeanhall Planning Committee, Ridgely’s Delight, Citizens of Pigtown, Federal Hill Neighborhood Association,  South Baltimore Neighborhood Association, and the Camden-Carroll Business Association.

The BLDC outlined 28 areas for funding and ranked them in order of importance. These included, in order: Complete Streets Plan, Employment Connection Center, Consultant for Long-Range Master Plan, Workforce Development Needs Assessment, and Additional Police Coverage.

The Mayor’s Office has produced a Year 1 Spending Plan, which can be read in full here. The spending chart can additionally be viewed here. The BLDC will review this plan and make comments and recommendations by this month.

The plan was broken down into two tiers: Tier 1 is up to $7 million in funding and Tier 2 is for an additional $3 million, thus taking the projections up to $10 million. Below is a breakdown of Tiers 1 and 2 (the complete proposed spending plan for both tiers can be found at this link.)

Receiving the most funding in the plan with $2 million is infrastructure upgrades to Russell, Bayard, Worchester and Warner Streets, which will be completed by Caesars. Just behind at $1.8 million is additional police coverage for the area. An additional $1.025 million is planned for fiber optic cables and cameras for CitiWatch and $1 million for the Complete Streets Plan initiative, which is underway as the DOT front-loaded the full funding.

Also included is $710,000 for DPW Sanitation Staffing, $500,000 for Employment Connection Center, $500,000 for Community Benefits District Program Study/Staffing, and $500,000 for Community Fund for Small Grants. $450,000 is planned for Enhanced Medic Services, $225,000 for Summer Youth Jobs and Year-round Internships, and $100,000 or more each for Tree Planting, Neighborhood Food Advocates, Warner St. Corridor Urban Design Study, and Consultant for Long-Range Master Plan.

Here is some additional information from the plan about some of these top priorities:

Complete Streets Plan: “The plan will engage each neighborhood and larger community in defining all aspects of street design within the right of way and beyond the pavement to include buildings and open space features, storm water management, transit, walking, bicycling, alleys, main streets, neighborhood streets, boulevards, parking, temporary street closures, intersection improvement, public plazas and other street elements as identified through the complete streets engagement process.”

Employment Connection Center: “The goal of this center is to facilitate job connections, access to 21st century skills in high growth areas and adult literacy for local residents. The center, modeled after the Mayor’s Community Job Hub Initiative, would offer job seekers an opportunity to upgrade their basic computer skills, gain additional computer certifications, explore careers, prepare for interviews and connect to employers.”

Also of note under Additional Police Coverage is that BCPD expects to employ a supervisor and three officers per shift for the expected coverage. And for DPW Sanitation and Staffing, the strategy includes street cleaning, as well as alley, lot and park cleaning, plus graffiti removal, illegal dumping removal, and the placement of additional cans.

If you have concerns, comments or recommendations about the Year 1 Plan, contact your local BLDC representative.

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Creator of SouthBmore.com and resident of SoBo. Graduate of Towson University and owner of Incept Multimedia, a full service video production company. Diehard Ravens and O's fan, beach volleyball enthusiast, dog lover and "bar food" foodie. Email me at [email protected] and follow me on Twitter at @SoBoKevin.
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