On 21 December, the Governor killed the State Center Redevelopment plan. He, along with Comptroller Peter Franchot and the State Treasurer Nancy Kopp voted to rescind prior approval for this plan. This is devastating for West Baltimore, and the revitalization that has long been planned. There has been a lot of press about this cancellation. You can read about it here.
Additionally, you should listen to this WYPR’s Midday with Tom Hall to hear John Kyle, President of the State Center Neighborhood Alliance, and Caroline Moore of Ekistics, the lead developer discuss what this means not only for West Baltimore, but for Baltimore and the state of Maryland. As was poignantly stated by Caroline Moore of @Ekistics_LLC, the contract for this development was with the State, not with the politicians. Killing this deal is a blow to the 9 neighborhoods that, as Mr. Kyle stated, “for 10 years … have been standing together, working together, compromising together.” Gov Hogan’s decision is an “outrage”.
The plans for this project started more than 10 years ago, in 2005 under then Governor Bob Erlich. The state complex is comprised of dilapidated buildings that are no longer meeting the needs of the State. The infrastructure is old, and the technology outdated. The area becomes a ghost town after business hours, and this hulking complex with expanses of parking cuts right through communities. The plan for State Center Redevelopment was born. The plan, cancelled by the Governor, was a well thought out 28-acre complex that would unite the surrounding nine neighborhoods that would create a vibrant community where people could work and live. There were plans for a grocery store, and shopping. It was a transit-orientated development that had bike trails and sidewalks and connected you to the City’s public transportation options. This was a once-in-a-generation opportunity, and the surrounding communities formed the State Center Neighborhood Alliance to ensure that the voices of the affected communities were heard.
Although Governor Hogan’s decision to cancel this project is incredibly detrimental, the Seton Hill Association, along with the SCNA, will continue to advocate for change and revitalization in this area.