In his first show of support for the performing arts center proposed for the Mount Royal cultural corridor, Gov. Parris N. Glendening said yesterday that he would like to include $1 million in his supplemental budget to help pay for a design study.
The governor is going through his supplemental budget now and expects to make a final decision within two weeks.
"I've been very supportive of the arts ever since I've been in public office," he said.
His comments came after a briefing in his Baltimore office with Ronald Kreitner, director of the Maryland Office of Planning; Calman J. Zamoiski Jr., president of the board of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra; and John Gidwitz, executive director of the orchestra. Mr. Zamoiski said they met at the request of Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke, who "asked for some assistance in moving this project forward."
The proposed $60 million arts complex would be located in the 900 block of North Howard Street, making it the cornerstone of Mayor Schmoke's proposed "Avenue of the Arts."
The $1 million in state funds would be half of the total $2 million cost of an architectural and engineering study. The remaining $1 million cost of the study would be divided equally between city and private sources.
A feasibility study completed last fall suggested that state, local and private money would pay for the construction of the center.
In terms of the state's contribution, however, the governor cautioned: "You never know what the supplemental [budget] is going to be. We haven't the vaguest idea until you get your very last revenue estimates and until the legislature decides what cuts it makes. Whatever cuts the legislature makes translates into money to be re-programmed in the supplemental."
He expressed more serious concern about the potential impact of the tax cut being considered by the legislature. Calling it "a very large, and I believe inappropriately timed, tax cut," he said, "If they do anything like that, then all bets are off in terms of being able to support anything like this."
"You never accomplish anything unless you have hope," said Mr. Gidwitz. Describing the governor's attitude as "very gracious," he said: "I believe this idea has so much merit that it will happen. We'd just like to see it happen now."