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I read the recent op-ed by Bill King about the Downtown Partnership, but didn’t recognize the organization he was talking about at all (“Baltimore’s Downtown Partnership needs a new leader who will make downtown a priority again | COMMENTARY,” Feb. 7).

As one of the largest stakeholder groups in my district, I work with the Downtown Partnership team nearly every day on issues that range from major capital projects, to public safety, to helping find housing and other assistance programs for people living on the streets.

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In terms of the organization’s contributions to the city, few can match its record of success. Under the impressive leadership of Kirby Fowler, the Downtown Partnership helped to write and advocate for a housing tax credit that not only helped the entire city, but turned the area around Charles and Baltimore streets into the city’s fastest-growing residential neighborhood. Simply put, the explosive growth of residential development in downtown would not have happened without them. They have provided invaluable assistance to nearly every property renovated in the downtown area over the last 15 years.

The organization was a leading advocate behind the creation of the Charm City Circulator. They have attracted more than $24 million of investment to renovate and transform such public spaces as Center Plaza, Hopkins Plaza, Preston Gardens, and McKeldin Plaza. Following on successful plans to revitalize the Charles, Calvert and Pratt Street corridors, the organization has been working with the Baltimore Development Corporation to develop once-neglected properties on Howard Street.

And just next week, thanks in significant part to Mr. Kirby’s leadership and guidance, the city is finally breaking ground on a new Lexington Market. I hope Mr. King will spend more time getting to understand the organization and its incredible impact on Downtown Baltimore before committing his thoughts to paper in the future.

Eric T. Costello

The writer is a Baltimore City Councilman, representing the 11th District.

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