Voters in city will decide on $67.7 million in bonds School repairs, firehouse, arts district included

November 02, 1996|By Robert Guy Matthews | Robert Guy Matthews,SUN STAFF

Baltimore officials are lobbying voters to support an ambitious $67.7 million bond package that aims to repair decrepit schools, attract homeowners, create an arts and entertainment district, and build a firehouse.

Nearly all of the city's 200 community associations have heard the pitch. The six bond issues will be on the ballot Tuesday.

"The main question that people ask is, 'Does this mean my taxes will be raised?' " said Charles C. Graves, the city planning director. "The answer is no, because this is within the city's availability to pay and does not require additional taxes."

Also on the ballot are four candidates for four circuit judgeships. Bonita J. Dancy, Albert J. Matricciani Jr., Gary I. Strausberg and David W. Young were appointed by Gov. Paris N. Glendening.

The city has agreed that if voters approve the bond issues, it will pay back the $67.7 million in 40 years from the general fund.

City voters approved a $32 million bond package last year and haven't voted down a bond issue in 22 years, Graves said.

The bond issues are:

$24 million for community development to encourage homeownership, relocation of residents in blocks targeted for demolition, repair of the Avenue Market site -- the former Lafayette Market on Pennsylvania Avenue -- and other public improvements.

$2 million to modernize firefighting capabilities and to build a new fire station on Swann Avenue in West Baltimore.

$16 million for an economic development loan fund to improve the Carroll, Fairfield and East Baltimore industrial area, purchase land for economic development projects and provide commercial and industrial loans for the development of land or buildings.

$1 million for the citywide program to remove or enclose asbestos in city-owned facilities.

$4.7 million to rehabilitate Carroll Park, repair six recreation center roofs and renovate the Clifton Park swimming pool and bathhouse.

$20 million to plan and design five schools, renovate four other schools and remove asbestos.

Of the $24 million for community development, $4.5 million would be used to encourage homeownership, $6 million for loans for settlement expenses on single-family houses, $1.8 million for emergency acquisition of problem properties and $200,000 to continue a program of planting street trees.

The $20 million for schools includes extensive renovations at Mergenthaler Vocational-Technical High School, Glenmount Elementary-Middle School, Lakeland Elementary-Middle School and Harbor City Learning Center.

Planning and designing of Thurgood Marshall Middle School, Carver High School, Cecil Elementary School, Lakeland Elementary-Middle School and Harbor City Learning Center would be allotted $1,907,000.

The $16 million economic development bond issue includes: $4 million to redevelop the Howard Street corridor as an arts and entertainment district.

$3 million for improvements to the Carroll, Fairfield and East Baltimore industrial areas.

$4 million to buy land for development.

$2 million to attract biotechnology businesses.

$2 million to rehabilitate city buildings.

$1 million for renovations at Hopkins Plaza.

Pub Date: 11/02/96

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