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Old April 22nd, 2007, 10:07 PM   #3061
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Doracon's new website is up and running: http://www.doracon.com/about.aspx
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Old April 22nd, 2007, 10:44 PM   #3062
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Doracon's new website is up and running: http://www.doracon.com/about.aspx
i like it. looks nice
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Old April 22nd, 2007, 10:56 PM   #3063
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You are mighty quick, Steven. I checked yesterday and it wasn't up then. Way to be on top of things
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Old April 22nd, 2007, 11:00 PM   #3064
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Aw, shucks!

Twernt nothin'!
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Old April 23rd, 2007, 05:30 AM   #3065
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development has been flat this weekend. i can honestly say that this is very unbaltimore-like. i can't wait until we get news on 10IH and 300EP. i have a feelin' that we're going to get more than we think we are.
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Old April 23rd, 2007, 05:32 AM   #3066
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I hope you are right.

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Old April 23rd, 2007, 11:20 AM   #3067
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Originally Posted by jamie_hunt View Post
Arena will need a larger footprint and more parking than the velodrome. Nate's probably right about Carroll-Camden. Putting it there would make the area similar to the sports complex in South Philly, which has baseball and football stadiums and two arenas. Facilities share parking and events are scheduled to avoid conflicts. (For the most part: two years ago, some friends were tailgating after the NCAA men's lacrosse championship at the football stadium and got the boot to make room for a Kenny Chesney concert at the newer arena.) Another aspect in Carroll Camden's favor is the desire to improve the appearance of Russell Street as one of the city's major gateways. Ray Lewis's project will clean up the right side north of I-95; the arena may do the same for the left side.
Just a thought..I wonder if it's possible to fit an arena between the two stadiums? I know there is a highway overpass in the way now, but maybe there's a way to eliminate it.
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Old April 23rd, 2007, 11:37 AM   #3068
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MARC station seen as hub of revival
West Baltimore station seen as key to new life in a section scarred by an aborted 1970s road project

By Sumathi Reddy
Sun reporter
Originally published April 23, 2007

By 6 a.m., the free parking lot at the West Baltimore MARC station is almost full.

The only sounds on the rickety wooden platform: cars whizzing by on U.S. 40, the blare of a police siren and the horn of the incoming train, a cue for the sweep of people that rushes inside.

This is no Penn Station. There are no coffee shops or places to buy a paper, just mounds of trash along the side and a few partial shelters that don't do much good in the rain and snow.

But city and state planners view the threadbare West Baltimore train station as the potential key to unleashing the redevelopment of an area long neglected and decimated by an unfortunate endeavor dubbed "the highway to nowhere."

Located in the 400 block of N. Smallwood St., the station is part of the MARC Penn line. The average daily boardings at the West Baltimore station have nearly doubled since 1997, reaching 653 last year - still just a quarter of those at Penn Station.

Though long overshadowed by commuter train stations at Camden Yards and Penn Station, the West Baltimore MARC station and area appears to be slowly attracting the likes of young, professional former Washington-area residents like 38-year-old Wallace Farmer.

Here he is now, having just walked the few blocks from his large, renovated Harlem Park home, ready for the hourlong commute to Washington.

Ten minutes after Farmer boards the train, Anthony Ogbuokiri slips onto the platform. The 34-year-old former Washington resident bought a house in Midtown Edmondson a year ago.

Next train it's Lianne Thompson-Totty, a 25-year-old newlywed who moved to a neighborhood south of the station after she got married last year. "I wish they would develop this train station, there's nothing here," says Thompson-Totty, as the sun begins to rise.

A few blocks away, Zelda Robinson, a 66-year-old community activist and longtime West Baltimore resident, recalls the last time planners came to them with visions of a transportation plan - and ended up dividing a community.

The "highway to nowhere," they call it now.

The wounds, she says, still sting.

"People have not forgotten what took place when this area was going to be used for that expressway," says Robinson, who lives in Midtown Edmondson and leads the West Baltimore Coalition consisting of representatives from 15 different area neighborhoods.

"A lot of people were displaced for that," she continues. "That road to nowhere sort of divided the communities and it hasn't been the same since."

Built in the 1970s, the city cut through a then-stable swath of predominantly black neighborhoods in West Baltimore to begin a six-lane highway that abruptly ends after less than two miles.

The highway was supposed to connect Interstate 70 to Interstate 95. Now called U.S. 40, the highway stopped short after a few years because of political opposition from wealthier communities.

But the dead-end project resulted in the demolition of hundreds of homes, and the displacement of nearly 3,000 people.

Joyce Smith, now 54, was one. The Franklin Square resident's family was displaced from the 400 block of Gilmor St. during construction of the highway. "I remember people were just so upset," she says. "We were just so dislocated. We didn't have a voice."

Her family was separated from her aunt and grandmother, who lived in the 1600 block of Mulberry St. "It separated our churches, it separated our services, it separated our families," shesays. "The whole sense of community was shattered. It had a devastating effect

"That's why I'm involved now," says Smith, who is executive director of Operation Reach Out Southwest, a coalition of neighborhoods south of the MARC station. "Being involved is the first step in the right direction."


Community

It is a weekday evening, and city and state planners and residents gather in the Edmondson Community Center, the thump of bass from cars driving by filtering into the room.
Paul Morris with PB Placemaking, a consultant hired by the state, cheerfully presents the group with a series of slides titled, "West Baltimore Transit Centered Community Development."

"The emphasis is not only on transit, but on the community," Morris says to an audience that clearly cares more about the latter.

In fact, another official points out, the name of the project was even tweaked to include "community."

When a woman asks about making some of the vast spaces from the highway to nowhere into green space, Morris tells them they can turn their streets into their own version of the Champs-Elysees, the famous boulevard in Paris.

Further slides detail plans such as developing retail businesses, making walking to transit safer and more convenient, and increasing the variety of housing and employment available.

This time around, as officials take the beginning steps of planning, they are being especially cautious and inclusive.

Still, at a weeklong planning workshop in the fall, tensions ran high at the last meeting. Another series of workshops is planned next month.

Even state officials acknowledge a high level of distrust and suspicion, which they're trying to address by being inclusive from the start.

"I think there is a lot of fear," says Don Halligan, assistant director of planning for the Maryland Department of Transportation. "The highway to nowhere is a living example of that. Obviously, they have a reason to be distrustful.

"We need to be extra sensitive, and we're reaching out as broadly as we can," he adds.

The idea behind the project, says Halligan, is to revitalize the community, defined as a half-mile radius around the station. That means physical and social infrastructure improvements, in addition to transit ones, he says.

Another factor to take into account is the possibility that the station could be a stop on the proposed east-west Red Line metro, though the planning process is going forward regardless of that project's fate.

The state intends to compile a set of recommendations with its consultants after the second series of workshops in May, which they'll hand over to the city, says Halligan.

"We're trying to create a partnership to create a better neighborhood, to create a healthy environment around what we feel is a significant transit hub," says Halligan. "We want to build the capacity of the existing neighborhoods. We want to create a better place that increases the accessibility for residents to regional opportunities, whether they're educational, jobs, or housing."

The idea originated with the Baltimore Neighborhood Collaborative, which works on transit-centered community development projects.

"This is an area that has experienced a tremendous amount of disinvestment," says Ann Sherrill, director of the group. "The transit station offers an opportunity to really capitalize on attracting new investment to the area. We're trying to do revitalization in a way that protects and helps the homeowners there."

She points to the Ice House as an opportunity for development. The industrial building was damaged by a fire.

Commuters
The ultimate goal, Sherill says, is to have a mixed-income, mixed-use neighborhood where residents can live together with a high quality of life.

That is starting to happen slowly through people like Farmer, who commutes to the Library of Congress in the District every day. Farmer has attended some of the planning meetings and is excited about participating in his neighborhood's future.

He bought a three-story, 3,000-square-foot renovated house for just $180,000 about a year ago.

"It's huge, it's too much house for me," he says. "The joke is the taxes. It's an empowerment zone, so it's $73 a month in taxes. I don't know why more young people aren't coming into the area."

Farmer's mortgage now is less than what he charges for rent in his one-bedroom condominium in Greenbelt.

"Somebody has to be a front-runner," he says. "Somebody has to say I'm not going to be scared. My neighborhood is so quiet because they're emptying it out, they're cleaning it out."

And his commute isn't too bad. Farmer walks to the MARC station, hops on the one-hour train, and can walk to work from there. The station, he says, is getting more crowded. "You can tell the people who moved from D.C. and other areas," he says. "They talk about it. We talk amongst each other."

Standing at the West Baltimore MARC station early one recent morning, Ogbuokiri, who commutes to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, where he is a network engineer, says he had never heard of the development plans. "I think that would be a good idea," he says "as long as the constituents are accommodated in the planning and something is done to help these neighborhoods."

For the moment, they are. And pleased to be part of the process.

Robinson and Smith were both at the recent meeting, listening intently to the presentations.

"I'm pleased with the process because at this time community folks have a chance to voice what we want to see in the project," says Smith. "Now if it actually happens, that would be even better, but to even be invited to express your concerns - it's nice."

Robinson agrees. Their part of West Baltimore, she says, has long been overlooked by the city for urban renewal projects.

This is their opportunity, she says, to "really press in and get those things we've been trying to get ... for the benefit of the whole. Not just those who are going to use that MARC train station."

Things like more recreation and parks, employment opportunities and better schools.

Still, she can't help but pose the question, one she says she has posed to planners. "If it weren't for the MARC train station in the area, would they be in here trying to help us do anything?

"I believe the answer is they would not be here," she says. "We would still be an overlooked community, a community that has just been devastated by abandonment."



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Old April 23rd, 2007, 11:47 AM   #3069
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Full article:

Talk of new arena brings potential city sites into foreground
Baltimore Business Journal - April 20, 2007by Ryan SharrowStaff
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Nicholas Griner | Staff
Most city leaders agree that First Mariner Arena needs to be replaced.
View Larger Baltimore may have given up hope of snagging a professional basketball team, but it's not giving up on a plan to build a new indoor arena. There is even a short list of potential sites being bandied about, some that may seem downright pie-in-the-sky, others a bit more realistic.

Some business leaders say it's too early to say where a potential arena may go. But everyone seems to agree that First Mariner Arena is way past its prime.


"The time was actually probably 20 years ago," said John A. Moag Jr., former chairman of the Maryland Stadium Authority and CEO of Baltimore-based Moag & Co. "It is long overdue."

In 2004, the MSA began soliciting proposals for a $100,000 study of a new arena. That soon-to-be released report -- funded by the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development and the Downtown Partnership of Baltimore -- will further demonstrate the current arena is physically outdated, according to sources who have the seen the report.

A new midsize arena with capacity of 15,000 to 16,000 could cost up to $150 million, industry experts said.

J. Kirby Fowler, president of the Downtown Partnership, said the report will not mention potential new sites. That will come at a later time, he said.

Baltimore banker and developer Edwin F. Hale Sr. -- whose bank's name is on the current building -- has spoken ahead of the release of the report and has spoken publicly about the need for a new arena and expressed interest in constructing a new facility on 28 acres in Canton.

Hale's indoor soccer team, the Baltimore Blast, is one of the primary tenants in the First Mariner Arena. Hale has made it known he is interested in building a 12,000- to 15,000-seat arena located next to his Canton Crossing development. Hale declined to comment for this story.

Sources say locations for a new arena discussed by business leaders include:

Parking lots B and C in the Camden Yards sports complex between Oriole Park at Camden Yards and M&T Bank Stadium;
A 6.8-acre industrial site across from M&T Bank Stadium, home to a Staples retail store. A spokeswoman with Staples said the company has not been approached to sell;
The so-called "superblock" on the city's west side. Considered an essential link between the west side and the city's central core, the stalled project has picked up steam after a settlement was reached between the city and the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation. Bordered by Howard, Liberty, Fayette and Clay streets, plans for the project include retail, parking, and apartments;
Gateway South, located on the Middle Branch in Southwest Baltimore. Baltimore Development Corp. voted in favor of a development team led by the Cormony Development LLC and linked with Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis to redevelop the property. Cormony has proposed to create about 600,000 square feet of office space, some retail space, and a 90,000-square-foot sports complex to include a pair of football fields and other recreational facilities.
"To my knowledge we have not had any conversation with the city about an arena," said Baltimore attorney Ira Rainess, who represents Ray Lewis' development team; and,

State Center, a 25-acre piece of property in Baltimore's midtown. The location encompasses aging office buildings, surface parking lots and other structures -- all owned by the state. In 2006, Baltimore developer Struever Bros. Eccles & Rouse Inc. was chosen to transform the site into a mix of retail, residential and office space.
Bob Rubenkonig, a spokesman for Struever Bros., said the company is still working with the community on what the final plans will be for the project.

City leaders mum on new sites
City officials and business leaders with ties to the arena and its future are staying mum.


BDC President M.J. "Jay" Brodie said via e-mail: "My only comment: The current arena -- while managed very well -- is physically obsolete and needs to be replaced with a first-rate facility that is on par with Oriole Park at Camden Yards and M&T Bank Stadium." Brodie did not comment on future locations.

Anthony McCarthy, a spokesman for Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon, acknowledged that the mayor has had talks with Hale, but "is reserving her final judgment until she fully absorbs the final study and recommendations made from her office."

Talks heating up about a new arena come at a time when the city is under a new administration and city leaders are further realizing the consequences of neglecting to pursue construction of a new arena. First Mariner Arena has not hosted a NCAA men's basketball Division I tournament since 1995, and the University of Maryland's men's team no longer uses the site for an annual game.

While the venue continues to host its share of concerts and family events -- such as Disney on Ice, the circus, and the Baltimore Blast -- experts say the city is losing out on the potential that lies with building a modern facility.

A model in Omaha
Building a new arena on the footprint of the existing First Mariner Arena is also an option. But city officials are loathe to take the arena out of commission for up to three years. It is booked nearly 130 nights a year.

New arenas mushrooming across the country nowadays feature larger hallways, bathrooms, and concession areas, as well as suites and club levels, said Frank Remesch, First Mariner Arena's general manager. The cost of fully renovating the existing arena would be almost as much as constructing a new one, he said.

Other cities have proven that a new arena can work, even without a National Basketball Association or National Hockey League franchise, experts say.

Omaha, Neb., which is not home to a professional sports franchise, opened the Qwest Center Omaha in 2003.


It will play host to the USA Swim Trials and the first and second rounds of the NCAA Division I men's basketball tournament in 2008. The city's previous 9,000-seat venue, the Omaha Civic Auditorium, did not have the capacity to host such events, said Qwest Center CEO Roger Dixon.

The new 17,000-seat arena is connected to a convention center, which also houses 200,000 square feet of exhibit space. Qwest is paying $14 million for sponsorship rights on the building for the next 15 years.


So what does Baltimore need to support a new midsize arena?

Donald C. Fry, president of the Greater Baltimore Committee, said factors include proximity to public transit lines, sufficient roads, nearby economic development opportunities, restaurants, and other entertainment venues.

"You want something that's convenient for the patrons," Fry said. "It's a draw for Baltimore and the entire region."
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Old April 23rd, 2007, 01:58 PM   #3070
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Haven't seen this posted yet.

http://www.livebaltimore.com/ID=3725...ments_clrg.pdf
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Old April 23rd, 2007, 02:39 PM   #3071
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Great find

Hope Ed Hale starts his 500 condo's the end of 2007. This project has been in the works for a while.


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Old April 23rd, 2007, 03:47 PM   #3072
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So what does Baltimore need to support a new midsize arena?
a MIDSIZE 15,000-16,000 seat arena????? c'mon now, what is a "midsized" arena going to do for this city? we need a STATE-OF-THE-ART 18,000-19,000 seat arena. we gotta' get out of this mindset of short-changing ourselves.

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Old April 23rd, 2007, 04:12 PM   #3073
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StevenW View Post
MARC station seen as hub of revival
West Baltimore station seen as key to new life in a section scarred by an aborted 1970s road project

By Sumathi Reddy
Sun reporter
Originally published April 23, 2007


The highway was supposed to connect Interstate 70 to Interstate 95. Now called U.S. 40, the highway stopped short after a few years because of political opposition from wealthier communities.
Of all the ghost highways in Baltimore , this is the only one I would of like to have seen completed especially the I-70 to I-170 section.

Interstates 70 and 170

In the 3-A System, I-170 was to be 2.3 miles long, and 1.4 miles of it opened in 1979. That section of I-170 has six lanes, and is mostly depressed below grade, with high retaining walls. An entire city block width of residential homes in the Franklin Street / Mulberry Street corridor was acquired to build the expressway. I-70 was completed for 12 miles from the city line westward in 1968. In the mid-1980s, the I-70 extension from the western city line inbound was canceled due to community opposition and concerns about the impacts to Leakin Park and Gwynns Falls Park. After that, the portion of I-70 from I-95 to I-170 was still proposed to be built, and that facility (I-70 & I-170) would have been designated I-595. In the late 1980s, that proposed expressway was canceled also. The isolated section of I-170 was redesignated as US-40 around 1990. I-170 was never planned to go I-83, or beyond the western edge of the CBD. There was an article in the Baltimore Sun newspaper in March 1997 discussing a proposal by several neighborhoods to demolish and backfill the built portion of I-170 and build homes in place of the hundreds (about 700) that were removed 20 years before. Even though this is an isolated section of expressway, it still serves as a valuable portion of east-west US-40, carrying about 40,000 vehicles per day. Also, the median was designed with space to accommodate a future rapid rail transit line.
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Old April 23rd, 2007, 04:14 PM   #3074
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philly's banner looks nice.
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Old April 23rd, 2007, 04:27 PM   #3075
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Yes. And Philly's banner looks doctored. How can the sun be shining ON the front of the Liberty towers, and be behind them at the same time? Hmmmm

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Old April 23rd, 2007, 04:33 PM   #3076
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Of all the ghost highways in Baltimore , this is the only one I would of like to have seen completed especially the I-70 to I-170 section.
yeah, me too. i wasn't living when this was being developed, but i have older coworkers that tell me about this freeway all the time. i can't wait to see what they have in store for this area. this cut-off ramp looks hideoous. i think the residents said it best......."the road to nowhere"







cut-off point of the ramp


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Old April 23rd, 2007, 05:11 PM   #3077
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Great pics. Last May, Gerald Neily sketched out some interesting ideas for the Franklin-Mulberry corridor on his blog.
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Old April 23rd, 2007, 05:48 PM   #3078
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This is another closing the barn door scenarios with the City and State.

No concrete plans can really be created until they figure out what the hell is going on with the Red Line. This project was initiated prior to the Red Line of the 2002 plan, but needs to be updated to include the Red Line properly.

Development must not dictate regional transportation alternatives but eliminating possibilities before preferred alternative alternatives are selected is asinine. The W. Baltimore crowd hasn't been particularly happy with the way they've been talked to anyway by the consultants, and neither have I.

City Planning and Transportation seem to be wary of getting into too much detail at this point so close to the station. Really, at this point it's a waste of time.

The Ditch was the worst destruction of property in Baltimore, EVER. I'm thankful I-70 was never built (I'm saying it for the last time )

Nate
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Old April 23rd, 2007, 07:54 PM   #3079
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Yes. And Philly's banner looks doctored. How can the sun be shining ON the front of the Liberty towers, and be behind them at the same time? Hmmmm
I was thinking the same thing Wada..lol
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Old April 23rd, 2007, 09:40 PM   #3080
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^I think we're looking at the Moon there. A full moon rises as the sun sets. The most prosaic explanation, I think.

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