BALTIMORE MUST DECIDE: DOWNTOWN OR UPTOWN – BUILD CALLS FOR BOTH
Times are tough in the city, but we can’t afford to quit investing in our young people or the places they live and play and learn. As it has for years, the City continues to focus on downtown: a billion-dollar expansion to the Convention Center, a Grand Prix racecourse, and tax breaks and upgrades for tourist attractions at the Inner Harbor.
Meanwhile, Baltimore’s children try to learn in decrepit school buildings and try to play on trash-strewn lots, whole swaths of our city remain abandoned, and residents live in fear while children are stabbed to death in their own neighborhoods or gunned down like Sean Johnson while he watched basketball on television on his front porch.
We know there are plans. One Mayoral Task Force is trying to find ways to address the $2.8 billion cost of desperately needed renovations and new construction of Baltimore schools. Another Mayoral Task Force is considering how to fund 55 recreation centers in the wake of closing 45 centers.
The time for plans and task forces is over. It’s time to act, not study.
BUILD calls on elected officials, corporate and foundation leaders, and the faith community to chart a new course that includes investment both “Downtown and Uptown.”
BUILD’s new campaign, Raise our Youth/Raise our City, aims to ensure that Baltimore is not focused simply on tourists and corporate citizens, but devotes the same sense of urgency and creativity to making Baltimore a place where all citizens thrive.
That means making strategic investments in downtown AND investing in a sure thing: Baltimore’s youth, schools and neighborhoods. With the largest gains in academic performance in years, Baltimore’s students have proved investing in them creates results. New and renovated schools and recreation centers will increase educational opportunities, help stabilize and improve neighborhoods, and create thousands of dignified jobs for the next 15 years.
WE NEED ACTION, NOW
For more than three decades, BUILD has fought to increase youth opportunities through after-school and recreation programs, youth jobs, and rebuilding neighborhoods. We started College Bound to provide students opportunities to attend college, founded Child First to provide thousands of young people with after-school enrichment, created the first living wage in the country, and have built over a thousand affordable homes with our partners The Reinvestment Fund (TRF) and Enterprise Homes. These are specific answers to difficult problems, an investment beyond downtown in youth and neighborhoods. Those investments in neighborhood and youth must continue, and the investment must start now. BUILD calls on candidates running for elected office and corporate, foundation, and religious leaders to lead, and to join us in our Raise Our Youth/Raise Our City campaign.