Baltimore plans $180 million in public works improvements


Baltimore's Public Works Department unveiled plans yesterday for more than $180 million in construction projects this year, including a long-awaited parking garage in the southern part of the city, road work and improvements to parks.

In addition to the construction projects, the department told 200 business owners attending a meeting at the city's Back River Wastewater Treatment Plant of plans for $22 million in new architectural work across the city, which will pave the way for more construction projects in the year 2000.

The annual meeting is part of an effort to inform business owners of approaching city contracts. The meetings had been criticized in the past, and a lawsuit was filed against the department because only a small number of business owners were invited.

"This lets the public know what we're doing for the year," said George G. Balog, director of public works, a department with an annual operating budget of about $500 million. "It also disciplines us and keeps us focused."

This year's projects include the construction of a $7 million parking garage at Fayette and Charles streets and a $2.5 million addition to a parking lot in southern Baltimore, where business owners have complained that the city has not increased the number of spaces to meet demand.

Public works officials also plan a $6 million renovation of Hopkins Plaza in downtown.

Most of the department's spending will pay for water and wastewater treatment projects, such as the $21 million renovation of the Loch Raven Dam.

The design projects include plans to resurface sections of Charles Street and Loch Raven Boulevard, and to replace the Forest Park Bridge over Gwynns Falls.

Bruce W. Pierstorff, a senior associate with the Hazen and Sawyer environmental engineering company who attended the meeting for the architectural projects, said his company now can better plan its year.

"It gives us an idea when the projects are coming up, which helps us put our programs together," Pierstorff said.

Pub Date: 1/30/99

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