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Baltimore spending panel approves $2.5M for animal care facility in Cherry Hill that will house BARCS

Morgan Murphy, a kennel attendant, scrubs a kennel at BARCS, the Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter.
Morgan Murphy, a kennel attendant, scrubs a kennel at BARCS, the Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter. (Barbara Haddock Taylor / Baltimore Sun)

Baltimore’s spending panel has approved a $2.5 million transfer to go toward construction of an animal care and services facility in Cherry Hill.

The city’s Board of Estimates approved the transfer Wednesday, which will pave the way for construction to start on a new building on Giles Road.

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The building will house the city’s animal services and Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Services, a private nonprofit.

The deal for a new animal rescue and services center was tied to a real estate deal that also involved a high-tech driving range near the Horseshoe Casino.

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The city has is making changes to land rules near the Horseshoe Casino Baltimore in anticipation of selling two waterfront properties for redevelopment and relocating the Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter.

In 2012, a company involved in the development of the casino secured the right to acquire a pair of city-owned lots. It eventually included land that is home to the Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter, also known as BARCS.

The developers then agreed to build a new shelter if they ever wanted to use the lot, but talks about relocating the nonprofit to a Lakeland property in South Baltimore fell through when the owner of the property couldn’t find somewhere to relocate his business.

But while developers found another potential property for the shelter in Cherry Hill, the proposal would be subject to “public works” rules because it was on city land. It would also require an open-bid process for the project.

In April 2018, the Board of Estimates waived those rules after a recommendation by the Baltimore Development Corporation to do so.

Casino officials have said the deal would lead to a larger facility for BARCS.

A permit filed with the Baltimore Housing and Community Development department in March for the property shows plan for a “new one-story 37,000 gross square feet building.”

Baltimore Sun reporter Ian Duncan contributed to this article.

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