Gov. Larry Hogan came to Baltimore on Thursday to tout $15.2 million in state funding his administration has helped secure for violence prevention, education and transportation initiatives in Baltimore.
At a cabinet meeting he held at the Shake & Bake Family Fun Center, the Republican governor announced that his upcoming budget includes a $5 million investment in critical anti-violence programs. The Maryland Violence Intervention and Prevention Program Fund supports violence reduction strategies through state-funded grants, and the Baltimore City Safe Streets Initiative employs outreach workers to intervene in high-crime areas.
“Baltimore City is the heart and soul of this great state,” said Hogan in a room of government officials and Baltimore residents holding miniature American flags. “We intend to continue doing everything we possibly can to help this city be all that it can be and ensure that Baltimore City’s future is even better than its past.”
The Maryland Democratic Party criticized the meeting, accusing the governor of blocking necessary programs like the Red Line transit route and the $1.5 billion State Center redevelopment plan that was scrapped in December 2016. Hogan at the cabinet meeting issued a call for developers interested in taking over the aging State Center building, a project that has already been stalled for years by lawsuits and delays.
“In less than four years, Larry Hogan blocked both State Center and the Red Line, and he’s hoping that today’s announcement will make Baltimoreans forget. It won’t,” said Maryland Democratic Party Chair Kathleen Matthews in a statement. “What Baltimore needs is a governor who will invest in the city, not another photo op.”
Hogan also said the state was providing Baltimore $3 million to repair the crumbling Hanover Street Bridge and $4 million in funding for the University of Maryland, Baltimore’s Community Engagement Center on Poppleton Street.
The governor celebrated “Baltimore City Day” by holding his cabinet meeting at the iconic Baltimore roller rink. Rather than balance on roller skates, the Thursday morning Shake & Bake crowd filled a room — some even standing along the walls — in the recreation center that re-opened in March after much-needed repairs.
Mayor Catherine Pugh did not attend the meeting but expressed her support of the governor’s budget.
“I’m pleased that the Governor has been supportive of the budget priorities we submitted,” said Pugh in a statement. “We have many additional needs and appreciate the Governor’s commitment to working with us as we continue to move our City forward. Without question, the prospects for our success depend on a strong partnership with the State.”