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Harbor Point Project Hits A Snag; Residents Think They’re Being Shortchanged

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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Once again, the proposed Harbor Point project near the Inner Harbor hits a snag.

A Baltimore City Council committee hearing ended last night with no action on a proposed tax break for the developer.

Pat Warren has more on the conflict.

Chanting bad development’s got to go. For the second time in eight days protestors land hard on City Hall.

Sharon Henderson wants to know why developers get so much, and her neighborhood–Perkins Homes–gets so little.

“You look out on the playground at the school, it’s a hot mess,” Henderson told committee members last week.

Perkins Homes Public Housing has become a lightning rod of discontent over $107 million in city financing proposed for Harbor Point development.

“And now you’re getting money because of us and you don’t want to give us nothing? That’s a hot mess also,” said Henderson.

The council committee hearings brought protests from unions and residents who think they’re being shortchanged by developers, and their plans to develop an area between the Inner Harbor and Fells Point.

“Perkins Homes is being asked to bend down and lift others up,” resident Paul Beiler complained.

Community activist Rhonda Winbush blames Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.

“I know the mayor,” she told council members. “She’s given the store away time and time again.”

Terry Bond says the developer needs to guarantee jobs for Perkins residents.

“We can’t even afford to go down there, you know? So maybe if we all get jobs we will be able to go down there once in a while,” she said.

It’s a proposed billion dollar multi-use complex. Mayor Rawlings-Blake told WJZ the long term benefits make the city’s investment worthwhile because it will generate millions in taxes on what is now vacant land.

Mayor Rawlings-Blake told WJZ she’s excited about the project.

According to the mayor, the projected tax revenue increase from the current $244,000 is $19.6 million per year.

“And that helps us provide more services and a better quality of life for all of Baltimore citizens,” said Rawlings-Blake.

But the chair of the taxation committee, Councilman Carl Stokes, thinks there should be additional guarantees of a return for the city.

The City Board of Estimates has already approved legislation for the project.

Council President Jack Young says he will move the proposal to the full council without committee approval if necessary.

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