BALTIMORE (WJZ)– Growth in the downtown area near Lexington Market is booming, but the market itself continues to have problems.
Monique Griego has more on the plan to increase safety there while also helping those in need.
Lexington Market is packed with people, but not everyone feels safe shopping there because of drug problems.
“Things going on you don’t want to see and you definitely don’t want children to see,” said resident Lakeisha Baker.
“When you go there, there are people who are dealing drugs, and there are also people who are clearly addicted and under the influence of something,” said Kirby Fowler.
Fowler, from the Downtown Partnership of Baltimore, is hoping to help improve some of those problems with a new initiative that started this week.
“We feel like we need the law enforcement side, but also constructive assistance for substance abuse,” Fowler said.
City police already patrol the area, but now among the crowds will be a uniformed officer stationed there by the Downtown Partnership.
“With police, we need all the security we can get,” said Baker.
The organization also brought on Trina Clary Morris, a drug counselor, who started hitting the streets on Monday.
“People are very open and receptive to help. I was very surprised,” Morris said.
The neighborhood around Lexington is booming with new apartments, making it the fastest growing area of the city.
According to the 2010 Census, within the past 10 years it has more than doubled in size- going from 1,700 to 4,000 residents.
“So people want to live here. They recognize the assets we have downtown,” Fowler said.
Many people in Baltimore, including Baker, hope this initiative is just another step toward taking Lexington Market back to what it used to be.
“I’m hoping they get it back to the way it was when I was a little girl, coming down here, getting all the good food, seeing all different people,” Baker said.
The initiative has funding to last a year. In addition, the mayor will also be sending more police officers to that area in the upcoming months.