The plan also calls for three new parking garages with at least 1,500 parking spaces downtown.
This goal is seen as possible, Raimundo said, because the City Council in the spring of last year authorized $75 million in bonds for the construction of parking garages. And this spring, the council designated five potential sites for garages -- including the 200 block of St. Paul St. and Clay and Liberty streets -- although the city needs to buy these sites, issue final approvals and select builders for these projects.
The Downtown Partnership's proposal calls for the creation of a "community court" to speed prosecution of quality-of-life crimes.
The state has included $950,000 in its fiscal year 2000 budget to create this court in a vacant bank building at 33 S. Gay St., said Tracy Brown, project coordinator of the Greater Baltimore Committee, which is leading the effort and has raised $1.6 million for the program.
The court is expected to open late next year, assuming the General Assembly grants its final approval of the plans this winter, Brown said.
The Downtown Partnership has seen a decrease in thefts from automobiles because it monitors the 32 video cameras on Howard and Charles streets. So adding 48 cameras around downtown is not expected to face much opposition, partnership officials said.
The proposal to create a grassy park out of the concrete Center Plaza north of Fayette Street and west of Charles Street has the approval of the property owner, Edison Properties of New Jersey. It needs an uncalculated amount of city funding.
"What we are proposing is very pragmatic and practical," said Schwartz.