Seersuckers, Straw hats, and Black-eyed Susans
(BALTIMORE – May 25, 2023) – I went to my first Preakness as an adult back in the 90s. I quickly learned how impactful the Preakness Race is to Baltimore and the world, for that matter. It is a top-tier race of historical significance being the second leg of the Triple Crown. That trio of races includes the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness, and the Belmont Stakes.
Having lived a spell in Park Heights with my cousins – having been a member of The Lord’s Church at 5010 Park Heights Avenue under Bishop Kevia Elliott – and having worked a couple of jobs, one in a hardware store and one teaching G.E.D. classes in the library, I have a deep love for this community.
I have nothing but good memories in Park Heights going back to childhood, including new ones typically made at the Caribbean eateries and stores in the area, like Max’s on Rogers Avenue.
It is imperative that every African American and everybody else understand the inequity that occurs as a direct result of the horseracing industry at Pimlico Racetrack. Long story short, the Black community is getting shafted and has been historically coming out on the short end for decades.
The sad part is that we have a plethora of Black elected officials that represent this area. Now, I’m not going to sit up here and say that they don’t do anything to help the Park Heights community. That’s for the people in Park Heights to determine.
What I will say is that considering the money that has been allocated to the Park Heights community over the past several years, I don’t see the appropriate level of re-investment, especially in its Black community. Instead, it looks like part of what happened to the legacy residents of Historic East Baltimore. They left and never returned.
Hell, we’ve seen Baltimore Peninsula (formerly Port Covington) develop overnight. So, what’s taking so long in Park Heights?
According to Will. J. Hanna, II, Chairman and CEO of the New Park Heights CDC, Inc., “Off the top of my head, millions were allocated for the Park Heights community that never arrived and/or that the community saw no benefit from.”
He said, “What immediately comes to mind is $52 million in slots money, $100 million that went to Baltimore Development Corporation (BDC), over $60 million in Racetrack Impact Funds (RTIF), $11 million for intersection improvement at Park Circle, $7 million in bond money for the Parklane Shopping Center – money that went back to BDC, and $645,000 per year for the last 5 years slated for Safe Streets that went to Park Heights Renaissance, which oversaw the program. I don’t know if the money ever made it to Safe Streets. None of that includes HUD, CDBG, forgivable loan programs for housing renovations for seniors, and the RTIF that is still being tolled. That’s about $235 million. Add to that the $460 million approved by the legislature for the redevelopment of Pimlico. That’s nearly $700 million in total. There has never been an accounting of these funds.”
Consequently, Hanna said that he is throwing his hat in the ring for Baltimore City Council for 2024.
If you disagree, if you think Park Heights is doing better than stated, please send an email and I will personally ensure it is posted on BMORENews.com.
Pimlico Local Impact Aid (Baltimore City Department of Planning Website)
- In 2007, the State legislature passed the Maryland Education Trust Fund – Video Lottery Terminals legislation (2007 SB 3), which provides slots revenue funding in the form of Local Impact Aid to jurisdictions that have casino facilities.
- The statute provides that 5.5% of gross video lottery terminal (VLT) revenue is returned to the jurisdiction where a casino is located and is known as Local Impact Aid. Baltimore City receives 18% of the local impact aid allocation that is generated by the casinos in Anne Arundel County, Baltimore City, and Prince George’s County for the Pimlico area.
- The legislation provides that a portion of the impact aid is directed to the area around the Pimlico Race Track.
- The current statute provides funds to the Pimlico Area for 20 years, through fiscal year 2032.
- Pimlico Area Local Impact Aid is allocated to the Mayor and City Council, but under State Law the City is required to develop a spending plan for the expenditure of local impact grants in consultation with the Local Development Council, the Pimlico Community Development Authority (PCDA).
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