Fight crime in Baltimore by providing opportunity

In reading your June 4th article, "Citizens see a city in crisis," I agree that a comprehensive crime fighting strategy is warranted to curb the violence we are facing in Baltimore City, but it is only one part of the solution. The mayor is also right to seek economic development and jobs opportunities for the citizens of Baltimore. To be successful, we must capitalize on sustainable development opportunities that are focused on more than just the demolition of vacant structures.

In West Baltimore, at State Center, we have an opportunity to put politics aside and finally move forward with a mixed-use development that has been contemplated for more than 10 years. Inspired by the community and State Center Neighborhood Alliance, State Center will create tens of thousands of construction, retail, hospitality and administrative jobs. And, with proposed affordable housing, a grocery store and other retail offerings, State Center would be the catalyst for transforming 28 blighted acres in West Baltimore into a thriving, vibrant, 24/7 neighborhood.

A key element of the State Center project is its targeted employment toward residents of high unemployment ZIP codes. When residents of a community are employed, it has a major effect upon improving the community in a comprehensive way. Unemployment breeds discontent; full employment breeds progress. If we truly want a solution to Baltimore's crime problem and we truly want a grocery store instead of an armory in West Baltimore, then the time is now for Gov. Larry Hogan to drop his lawsuit, return to the negotiation table and move forward with the State Center development project.

Rev. Alvin C. Hathaway Sr., Baltimore

The writer is pastor of Union Baptist Church.

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