Governor Hogan recently proposed the building of an arena at the State Center site as an alternative to the proposed development that is currently under litigation. At the March MRIA Board meeting, the MRIA Board voted unanimously to oppose the arena plan.
John Kyle, Bolton Hill resident and president of the State Center Neighborhood Alliance, briefed everyone on the current status of the State Center redevelopment before the vote.
After more than a decade of unprecedented community, state, and developer engagement, Governor Hogan led the state Board of Public Works to cancel all contracts last December and then sued the developer. The developer responded to the lawsuit in kind. This litigation will probably take two to three years to resolve.
Meanwhile, the governor decided to move ahead with a $30,000 task force to study the site as the location for an arena. Another study from several years ago already concluded that it was an unfavorable arena location. Moreover, representatives from the surrounding neighborhoods are not included on the task force.
Objections from nearby residents are detailed in a front-page story in the April 1 edition of the Sun, as well as through numerous op-eds and letters to the editor. Many elected officials support State Center redevelopment, including City Council President Jack Young, Councilman Costello, and Mayor Pugh.
John highlighted some key consequences if State Center redevelopment does not proceed:
- State employee jobs could be transferred to other areas of the state.
- Abandoned State Center buildings could sit unoccupied indefinitely.
- Private-sector jobs that would be created by the new development would no longer generate state tax revenue.
- The full-service grocery, which had been a proposed use for the Armory building, would not be developed.
- Proposed transit-oriented development would be scuttled.
The State Center Alliance is now trying to bring the administration and developer back to the table. MRIA has been a longtime supporter of State Center redevelopment plans, and following John’s updates, the MRIA Board voted unanimously to oppose an arena at the State Center site.
On March 20, Councilman Costello sponsored a resolution supporting the State Center Development, which was unanimously adopted by the City Council.
What You Can Do to Help State Center Redevelopment
Sign the petition. After all this time, folks may have lost sight of the good things that will come from redevelopment. As a reminder, project developers have launched an online petition that will enable West Baltimore voice its need for a full-service grocery store and desire for redevelopment of the State Center site. Sign the petition here.
Write, call, or email Governor Hogan to encourage him to restart negotiations and implement the plan. Remind him that the plan has been 10 years in the making and has the full support of the surrounding communities. Showing widespread support will apply more pressure for the State to return to the table.