$120 million in city bond proposals set for vote

Business development, improvements for schools, neighborhoods included

October 14, 2002|By Josh Mitchell | Josh Mitchell,SUN STAFF

Baltimore voters will be asked to approve $120 million in community and economic development projects intended largely to improve neighborhoods and schools and spur business development.

Voters will decide on 14 bond proposals Nov. 5. M. J. "Jay" Brodie, president of Baltimore Development Corp., the city's main economic development arm, said the borrowed money is needed to "continue to allow Baltimore to be competitive with other cities and to take advantage of the great assets and build on them."

"We think we're doing well, but we want to continue that and do better."

The biggest item, $43.5 million, would help fund community development projects. About $9.7 million would be used to tear down abandoned buildings, and roughly $7 million would pay for programs that help people buy homes.

About $27.7 million would be used to spark economic development by renovating commercial and industrial sites, promoting business and redeveloping the west side of downtown.

About $32 million would go for schools, including $6.5 million to renovate Dunbar High School to accommodate a pre-medicine, biotech and citywide college preparatory program. Other funds would be used to convert Southern High School into a citywide technology school and to construct a middle school on a site to be determined.

Millions of dollars would go to improvements in other schools.

Other ballot proposals include:

$3.5 million to renovate the John Eager Howard Recreation Center, the Patterson Park swimming pool and 18 playgrounds.

$2.35 million to fund the continued expansion and renovation of the main Enoch Pratt Free Library downtown.

$1 million to renovate the 30-year-old Waxter Center for Senior Citizens.

$1.5 million to upgrade the original Pier 3 building of the National Aquarium.

$500,000 to expand Sensation Station, an exhibition space in the Port Discovery children's museum that offers programs in early-childhood development.

$1.5 million to expand the Maryland Science Center, including construction of an earth sciences and dinosaur hall.

$2 million to expand the stage at the Lyric Opera House.

$750,000 to expand the Walters Art Museum.

$1 million to renovate the Meyerhoff Symphony Hall.

In addition to the bond issues, voters will decide whether to reshape the City Council by cutting four seats from the 19-member council and eliminating the city's multimember council districts.

Another question asks voters to approve expanding the city's Social Services Commission from nine members to 13.

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