Area Improvements Sought in Preparation for Horseshoe Casino
As Baltimore’s first casino, Horseshoe Baltimore, prepares to open in less than 12 months, leaders in South Baltimore are seeking funding for infrastructure and pedestrian improvements so that visitors’ and residents’ first trip to the establishment will make them want to return. The South Baltimore communities surrounding Horseshoe are projected to receive an estimated $15 million a year in local impact funds beginning in fiscal year 2015. Councilman Cole, backed by District 46 state representatives, is seeking to acquire money from Baltimore City to be paid back with future local impact funds to address short-term needs for the opening.
Improvements discussed at last night’s South Baltimore Neighborhood Association (SBNA) meeting include the resurfacing of Hanover St. and Ostend St. in SBNA as they could take on hundreds of new cars each day as a route of transportation from I-95 and Anne Arundel County. Hanover St. is already slated to receive traffic calming medians from Wells St. to Heath St. as well as a ‘Welcome to South Baltimore’ sign designed by local business Duo Signage and Graphics.
Other ideas include pedestrian walkway improvements so that people walking from downtown via Russell St., as well from South Baltimore and the light rail along streets such as Ostend, Sharp and Warner St., will have a better experience. The goal is to make the pathways as safe, bright and visually appealing as possible.
A local development council (LDC) has been formed, including representatives from the surrounding neighborhoods, as well as Councilman Ed Reisinger, Senator Bill Ferguson and Delegate Luke Clippinger. They will advise the Mayor’s Office on how to spend the local impact funds, which must be spent in the immediate area on safety, parks, housing, transportation, infrastructure, and public health programs. They are in the process of coming up with long-term and short-term goals for the funding.
Concerns about the location and potential improvements of BARCS were also heard, but City Planner Brenton Flickinger told the group they have a need for much more space and have been working with the city and state for several years to try and find that location.
To share your ideas and input, make sure to contact your local LDC representatives. The Department of Planning has also invited the community to participate in the creation of a Casino Area Master Plan on Saturday, September 21st from 9am-12pm at Digital Harbor High School.