City wants to borrow $31.7 million for projects


One week after Baltimore voters approved $30 million in loans to help fund capital projects throughout the city, the Schmoke administration has unveiled a new list of projects that it would like voters to approve on Election Day 1995.

Baltimore's Planning Commission approved a loan program yesterday that would provide $31.7 million for redevelopment projects, including $2 million for the children's museum proposed for Market Place, $2.225 million for an Earth Conservation Center for the Baltimore Zoo and $1 million for a new emergency room at Sinai Hospital.

Other loans would provide: $10 million for adding to or renovating city schools; $8 million for community development; and $2.5 million to help the nonprofit Community Development Financing Corp. provide loans for affordable housing.

Also, $500,000 for a pool and bathhouse in Cherry Hill, $1 million to remove asbestos from city buildings and $6.5 million to support economic development projects. Among the projects are the children's museum, $1 million for "biotechnology initiatives," $1 million to support the continued revitalization of Howard Street and $1 million for the Fairfield and East Baltimore industrial areas.

Schools that were singled out for improvements include Harbor City Learning Center, Hamilton Elementary, Cross Country Elementary, Glenmount Elementary/Middle and Mergenthaler High. Three schools -- Hamilton Middle, Harriet Tubman Elementary and the Laurence G. Paquin School -- would have roofs repaired.

The 1995 loan authorization program is divided into eight questions that will be placed on the November 1995 ballot for approval by city voters. Should all the questions pass, as they typically do, the city would be authorized to sell general obligation bonds to finance the projects.

Agencies requested $187.3 million, and the list was compiled from those requests, said Israel Patoka, manager of the planning department's Capital Improvement Program management division.

The loan authorization package is subject to the approval of several other groups, including the Board of Estimates and the City Council, before it can be placed on the ballot next November. The proposed total falls within the limit on city debt recommended by the finance department and the city's debt policy, Mr. Patoka said.

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