With Baltimore’s first casino, Horseshoe Baltimore, opening on Russell St. in South Baltimore around next September, the Baltimore City Police Department (BCPD) is planning and preparing strategies for the new entertainment district. On Tuesday, September 24th, Police Commissioner Batts and Lt. Colonel Melissa Hyatt, who coordinates all of the districts around the harbor, as well as Southern District Major Ian Dombroski, spoke to the Federal Hill South Neighborhood Association about preparations for the new casino, as well as South Baltimore and citywide violence.
A new Horseshoe casino recently opened in Cincinnati, OH and Batts, Hyatt, Dombroski and other members of the BCPD visited it to study the security inside and around the facility. They will also soon be making a trip to Horseshoe Cleveland, which opened in 2012, to study their security measures as well.
“The police, fire and emergency services departments are all prepping for the new casino,” said Lt. Col. Hyatt. She cited how all three departments are making sure response times and resources are improved by the likely September opening.
The casino is expected to generate around $15 million in local impact funds beginning in Fiscal Year 2015 to be spent in the immediate area on safety, parks, housing, transportation, infrastructure and public health programs. Batts is hoping some of that funding can be used to employ extra patrols to deal with the increased number of people coming and leaving the casino and surrounding areas. Batts is also hoping to add many cameras throughout the area that the police department can use to remotely keep an eye on the area at all times.
District 46 Delegate Luke Clippinger, a member of the Local Development Council (LDC), along with Councilman Ed Reisinger, Senator Bill Ferguson and representatives serving in an advisory role from Federal Hill, SBNA, Sharp-Leadenhall, Pigtown, Westport and Rigely’s Delight, and other nearby communities, are in change of making recommendations to Mayor Rawlings-Blake on how the local impact funds should be spent. Clippinger told SouthBMore.com that one of the initial recommendations to the Mayor was indeed for public safety.
Area leaders are also hoping to receive funding ahead of time to be paid back by LDC funds to make sure pathways to the casino are as bright, safe, visually appealing and pedestrian-friendly as possible.