Baltimore seeks developer to revitalize Park Heights

A 49-acre stretch of Park Heights is eyed for revitalization.

Baltimore officials are seeking a developer to revitalize a 49-acre stretch of Park Heights.

The request is part of a plan to breathe new life into the blighted northwest community, south of Pimlico Race Course, along Reisterstown Road.

"One of the goals of the redevelopment is to create a distinctive mixed-income, mixed-use neighborhood and a sense of place that retains the area's unique historic attributes," Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said.

The Park Heights Master Plan was created in 2006 to guide decisions on land use, recreation, transportation, and social and economic opportunity in the area, where the city has already invested more than $200 million. The area has received funding from a state program that directs money to communities around racetracks.

The city is offering the 49-acre tract to a developer as it continues to acquire 13 additional acres. Officials said 62 households have been relocated from deteriorated blocks to make way for the new development.

"A great deal of time, resources and planning have been devoted to getting us here today," Rawlings-Blake said."

The project is moving ahead despite questions about the future of Pimlico, which hosts the annual Preakness Stakes, the second leg of horse racing's Triple Crown, the mayor and Baltimore Housing Commissioner Paul T. Graziano said.

City officials have been involved in on-and-off discussions about Pimlico with the state and the Maryland Jockey Club, which runs racetrack, he said.

"We didn't want to hold up this process and this development opportunity as things were sorted out with the racetrack," Graziano said.

Rawlings-Blake said the redevelopment in Park Heights would complement whatever happens at Pimlico, which she hopes will be as a thriving racetrack and anchor institution for the community, as it was in the past.

Sinai Hospital is also expected to serve as an anchor institution and a potential source of jobs for future residents, the mayor said. In previous years, the community was home for many hospital employees, she said.

The proposals are due May 27.

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