City has paid nearly $100,000 for hotels, other needs of displaced Charles Village residents
By By Kevin Rector and The Baltimore Sun
Jun 12, 2014 at 5:53 PM
City officials promised to cover the financial costs to the Charles Village residents displaced by the collapse of East 26th Street, and that tab now sits just shy of $100,000, city officials said Thursday.
It will continue to grow, as well, even though the residents are back in their homes.
The costs — mostly for hotel rooms for the residents of the 19 homes that were evacuated — are in addition to the city's $18.5 million estimate for the street's reconstruction, said Caron Brace, a spokeswoman for Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, whose office released the figures.
"We tried our best to go above and beyond to meet the unique circumstances of each and every resident as they sought to continue their daily lives while being displaced from their homes," Rawlings-Blake said of the costs, in a statement. "We knew there would be several costs associated with this incident, however from the outset it was clear that the residents shouldn't have to carry any additional burdens beyond being shut out of their homes."
The collapse occurred April 30, sending cars, sidewalk, dirt and half the street into a cut of CSX Transportation railroad tracks below. Residents were displaced for weeks, not returning until last week.
The city spent $86,631.43 on hotels; $4,278.83 on home or apartment rentals and mileage for residents to get to their temporary living quarters; $3,000 in food vouchers; $440 on radon testing for the residents' homes; and $180 in bus tokens.
The total stands at $94,530.26.
That does not include the price of parking, which remains a moving number, Brace said.
The city has reserved 20 spaces in a parking garage for residents' vehicles, which it will continue doing pending the completion of the street repairs. Those repairs are estimated to take another six months.
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"We will continue to be as responsive as possible to any concerns or questions they may have as construction continues on their street."
While the city is covering the costs upfront, the wall that fell held a city street above CSX's right of way, and the city and railroad have split costs associated with maintaining similar walls in the past.
Rawlings-Blake has said her administration remains in regular contact with CSX officials and has yet to determine whether it will seek reimbursements from the railroad for costs related to the collapse. The railroad has not commented on whether it has any financial responsibility.