South Baltimore Gateway Partnership Awarded $483,863 in Casino Impact Fund Grants in Winter Cycle

| June 26, 2019 | 0 Comments

In April, the South Baltimore Gateway Partnership (SBGP), a nonprofit which manages half of South Baltimore’s casino Local Impact Grants, announced $483,863 in new grants to support 25 community projects across South and Southwest Baltimore.

SBGP manages approximately $7 million/year in Local Impact Grant funding from Maryland casinos, with an equal amount managed by the Casino Local Development Council (LDC), which has an advisory board of community members and spends funds at the direction of the Mayor of Baltimore. SBGP awards Community Grants twice a year.

SBGP includes staff, Executive Director Brad Rogers, and a Board of Directors comprised of members of neighborhood associations, business owners and nonprofit directors, and elected officials.

SBGP budgets about $1 million/year to Community Grants, about $1.5 million/year to Enhanced Services to public spaces in the community, and $3 million/year to Transformational Projects. “We budget conservatively, so if we have additional money, we can make everyone happy by doing more,” said Rogers.

The biggest community grants were awarded to youth football program The Cherry Hill Eagles Foundation, which received an $85,954.90 grant to launch new mentorship program and purchase supplies and sports uniforms; Salem Lutheran Church Baltimore in Riverside which received a $49,995 grant to renovate its basement hall into Riverside Third Space for community programming; Riverside Neighborhood Association which received $49,500 for renovations, murals, and new furniture at Riverside Park Pool; Institute for Local Self- Reliance which received $47,500 to operate the Baltimore Composting Community Project; GiveFit which received $39,847 to add new on-demand fitness sites at Ella Bailey Recreation Center in Riverside and Southwest Baltimore Charter School; Federal Hill Main Street which received $36,787 for a street cleaning program in the business corridor; NEWfit which received $36,363 to launch athletics leagues at elementary and middle schools; and Boys & Girls Clubs of Metropolitan Baltimore which recieved $34,802 for new STEM and wellness programs at Westport Homes Boys & Girls Club.

Additional grants were awarded to nonprofits to support programming and events around South Baltimore. See the full list here.

“We are excited to see our investments in the neighborhoods we serve beginning to bear fruit in so many ways—from an increase in healthy activities for families and seniors to cleaner, greener parks for everyone.” said Rogers in a statement. “We look forward to collaborating with area residents to make lasting changes that will truly improve the quality of life in communities that have been under-served for too long.”

“We want to make sure there are spaces in South Baltimore to come together and enjoy being in South Baltimore,” Rogers told

Transformational projects that SBGP is working on include its Middle Branch initiative. This is getting underway with a design competition that aims to turn the Middle Branch Waterfront into a more than 11-mile park system in South Baltimore along the shoreline of the Patapsco River. Parks and People Foundation is managing the project on behalf of the City of Baltimore and SBGP has contributed $350,000 to this project so far. Once an architecture firm wins the design competition, that firm will likely spend about $1 million to $2 million on the new design plan for the Middle Branch. The project will be done in phases.

SBGP has already taken on maintenance of Middle Branch Park on the south shore of the Middle Branch. This maintenance includes planting new trees and clearing overgrowth along the shoreline to open up waterfront views. SBGP is also part of the funding for a new trash wheel on the Gwynns Falls which contributes 60 to 80% of the trash in the Middle Branch, according to Rogers. The wheel will likely be installed this year.

“We want to connect the South Baltimore neighborhood with the waterfront they’ve been divided from for so long. The Inner Harbor has a hard edge and the Middle Branch will have lots of beautifully landscaped common space right at the water’s edge. ”

SBGP has also committed $1 million to the Middle Branch Fitness and Wellness Center at Reedbird Park in Cherry Hill. Rogers said SBGP will likely commit another $1.2 million for the project. The Middle Branch Fitness and Wellness Center will include four multi-use sports fields, including one with a turf surface; a new $16.5-million, 32,000 sq. ft. fitness and wellness center; a dog park; new basketball courts; a new playground; an extended path system that connects to the Gwynns Falls Trail; fitness pods; plazas; pavilions; a field house; bike racks; and a parking lot. This project is expected to break ground this fall. 

Another turf field will be added in South Baltimore with the support of SBGP funds.

In addition the Community Grants, SBGP’s board has approved spending $900,000 in total operating support funds to three community organizations that are dedicated to property development. The first recipient is the Cherry Hill Development Corporation (CHDC). The two other organizations have not yet been announced.

Enhanced Services supported by SBGP includes grass mowing and improvements to Federal Hill Park, improvements to Middle Branch Park, planting and beautification projects around Federal Hill Main Street, and free youth sports leagues in South Baltimore in partnership with Volo City. Another turf field will be added to South Baltimore with the support of SBGP Enhanced Services funds.

Middle Branch Park 

New furniture at Riverside Park Pool 

Future space for Riverside Third Space 

A rendering form the Middle Branch Design Competition from James Corner Field Operation

Federal Hill Park Photo of new train playground piece courtesy of South Harbor Renaissance 

Street maintenance in Federal Hill 

Middle Branch Fitness and Wellness Center Rendering courtesy of Baltimore City Recreation & Parks and GWWO Architects 

Middle Branch Fitness and Wellness Center Rendering courtesy of Baltimore City Recreation & Parks, GWWO Architects, and Floura Teeter Landscape Architects

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Founder and Publisher of, longtime resident of South Baltimore, and a graduate of Towson University. Diehard Ravens and O's fan, father of three, amateur pizza chef, skateboarder, and "bar food" foodie. Email me at and follow me on Twitter at @SoBoKevin.
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