November Compass - eNews from Baltimore Planning

Compass Logo over photo of Horseshoe Casino

A monthly eNewsletter from the Baltimore City Department of Planning

November, 2014

A Message from the Director…

The Planning Department has a long history of working with community residents, business and institutional stakeholders, non-profit organizations and City agencies to develop neighborhood master plans for communities across the City.  In these tight fiscal times, however, implementation funding tends to be a rare commodity indeed. 

Fortunately, State gaming legislation established a new, dedicated, multi-year, flexible funding source enabling implementation of community and City priorities for neighborhoods surrounding Pimlico Race Course and the Horseshoe Casino. These areas are both benefitting from a new funding source in the form of Local Impact Aid, generated by gaming revenues, to support community and economic development initiatives.

The Planning Department helped lead collaborative processes in both communities, engaging residents, business owners, elected officials, City agencies and other stakeholders in identifying priorities to inform the spending of these funds. The Pimlico Community Development Authority (PCDA) and the Baltimore Casino Local Development Council (“LDC”) are the two entities charged with advising the Rawlings-Blake administration on spending priorities.

Please check out the information below, as well as the more detailed material in the embedded web links, to learn how the City is putting these important Local Impact Aid dollars to work in eligible communities to improve quality of life today and to promote economic and community development for the long-term.

Thomas J. Stosur, Director


By the Numbers:

Progress toward a Growing Baltimore

The number of new housing units is a good indicator of progress towards a growing City, by retaining current residents and attracting new residents.  Between 2010 and 2014, the following changes have taken place in the housing market:

A chart depicting increases in number of new housing units

In the Media:

Did you catch this great story on the Baltimore tradition of painted screens and their current comeback on CBS Sunday Morning?

Photo showing two Baltimore painted window screens
Facebook Logo

Local Impact Aid Update

Maryland’s legislation authorizing casino gaming mandates that 5.5% of statewide revenues from electronic slot machines, referred to as “video lottery terminals,” or VLT’s, fund Local Impact Aid, with 82% allocated to the local government jurisdiction for infrastructure improvements, public safety, sanitation, and economic and community development in areas surrounding the VLT facility. The remaining 18% of VLT revenues from the Baltimore, Anne Arundel, and future Prince George’s County casinos supports community and economic development activities in a defined area surrounding Pimlico Race Course.

Pimlico Local Impact Aid

In the Pimlico area, $4.5 million in Local Impact Aid is projected for FY’16, with 75% allocated to implementing the Park Heights Master Plan and the remaining 25% for other neighborhoods within a roughly one-mile radius of the Race Course (see Map).

Pimlico Local Impact Area Map

Above: Map of Pimlico Local Impact Aid Eligible Areas

In Park Heights, funds are focused on continued acquisition, demolition and preparing for future uses within the “Major Redevelopment Area” described in the Master Plan. Funds are also supporting human service and public health programs for community youth and their families.  In the wider area, priorities include improving park facilities, addressing residential vacancy and strengthening local community associations. The draft FY’16 Spending Plan and other key documents can be found on the PCDA’s website. The PCDA is accepting public comments on the spending plan through November 14, 2014 to inform its recommendations to the Administration. 

Casino Local Impact Aid

The Baltimore Casino Local Impact Area encompasses the neighborhoods of Barre Circle, Cherry Hill, Federal Hill, Lakeland, Mount Winans, Otterbien, Pigtown/Washington Village, Sharp-Leadenhall, Ridgley’s Delight, Saint Paul, South Baltimore and Westport, plus the sports stadiums and the Carroll-Camden, Port Covington and Spring Garden industrial areas (see Map).  

Casino Area Map

Above: Neighborhoods within the Baltimore Casino Local Impact Area

The FY’15 Spending Plan for Casino Impact Funds allocated $7 million for community priorities, such as workforce development, streetscape enhancements and increased sanitation in the neighborhoods, and for infrastructure improvements, policing and other services in the blocks immediately surrounding the Horseshoe Casino. The Draft FY’16 Spending Plan recommends allocating revenues, anticipated between $9-12.5 million, to projects that include “complete streets” upgrades, youth employment opportunities and small business assistance, among other priorities identified by the LDC. The LDC began its 45-day review of the City’s recommended FY’16 spending on October 30, 2014. Documents related to the FY’15 and ’16 Spending Plans and information regarding meetings can be found on the LDC’s website. (For further information, contact Project Coordinator Ethan Cohen at 410-545-3107 or  

The Department of Planning is working with the LDC to finalize a Master Plan for the Casino Impact Area by early 2015. The South Baltimore Gateway Master Plan will articulate goals, strategies and recommendations developed with input from community stakeholders and City agencies through a process that began in 2013, and will provide the guideposts for spending Local Impact Aid in future years.