Board OKs bonds for several projects

December 13, 1990|By Patrick Gilbert | Patrick Gilbert,Evening Sun Staff

The city Board of Estimates has approved the sale of $35 million in general obligation bonds to pay for capital projects, including the construction of a new Northern District Police Station and the consolidation of two fire houses in South Baltimore.

Yesterday's board action clears the way for the city to seek approval from the General Assembly to have the loan package placed on the ballot in November 1991.

The Northern District station, built in 1899, has defied patchwork repairs. Deputy Police Commissioner Michael C. Zotos told the board that the station is so badly deteriorated that it should be fully renovated or replaced.

"We can't repair it fast enough," said Zotos, who displayed photographs showing holes in the station's walls, and window and roof areas that leak when it rains.

About $4.5 million of the bond sale would be earmarked for the new police station, said Victor Bonaparte, chief of capital improvement planning for the city's Department of Planning.

The estimated cost of renovating the Northern District building is $4.2 million, Zotos said, which does not include the cost of leasing a new facility while the renovation takes place and moving equipment back and forth between the buildings.

While the present station building is a 40,000-square-foot structure, the new, state-of-the-art station would require only 25,000 square feet.

Zotos and Bonaparte told the board that a location for a new station has not been selected.

The Northern District is at 3355 Keswick Road in Hampden. Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke and City Council President Mary Pat Clarke noted that the neighborhood residents want the new station built near the existing Northern District site.

"The police station has been there so long, the residents see it as the major safety factor in their neighborhood," said Clarke.

The mayor said there was a possibility a police presence could be maintained in the area even if a new police station is built at another site. The mayor said it is possible that a police substation could be housed in a 27-year-old building that once housed the Northern District Court.

Also on the list of projects was $2 million for the construction of a new fire station that would combine Engine Co. 26, now at 140 W. West St., and Truck Co. 6, in the 1200 block of S. Hanover St.

Bonaparte told the board that the fire stations that now house these units were built in the days of horse-drawn fire vehicles. The new fire house would help serve the new Camden Yards stadium, scheduled to be completed by April 1992.

The new station would house Engine 26 plus another engine, Truck 6, an ambulance and a battalion chief. A site for the new station has not been chosen, Bonaparte said.

Other projects include:

* About $6 million for capital improvement education projects. The total includes roof repairs for 14 schools, $1.2 million for the city's share in renovation of Garrett Heights Elementary School, $1.2 million for the renovation of Windsor Mills Elementary School, $300,000 for equipment for the new Brehms Lane Elementary School, $650,000 in planning funds for Edmondson High School and Ashburton Elementary School and $800,000 for asbestos removal in schools.

* $8 million for economic development, including $7.5 million for infrastructure improvements at the Port Covington Industrial Park.

* $2 million for center city development including the Christopher Columbus Center for marine biotechnical research center and improvements to Carles Center and Market Center.

* $6 million for community-development projects.

* $1 million for improvements to the 17 neighborhood senior citizen centers.

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