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Governor begins tearing down city's vacant homes

Rachel Baye
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Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and a large construction vehicle flanked Gov. Larry Hogan in Baltimore’s Sandtown-Winchester neighborhood on Tuesday afternoon as he announced a $94-million plan to tear down thousands of vacant homes in the city over the next four years.

And the plan took effect immediately, with the destruction of a boarded-up house on the 1000 block of North Stricker Street shortly after the officials finished speaking.

“Fixing what is broken in Baltimore requires that we address the sea of abandoned, dilapidated buildings that are infecting entire neighborhoods,” Hogan said. “They aren't just unsightly. They're also unsafe, unhealthy and a hotbed for crime.”

Under the Maryland Stadium Authority’s oversight, the demolished row houses will be replaced with green spaces and “livable new developments,” Rawlings-Blake said.

The state plans to spend roughly $75 million on the demolition, while the city will provide in-kind administrative and relocation services, valued at roughly $19 million more, according to the governor’s office. The Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development also plans to provide more than $600 million in financing opportunities over four years, including up to $200 million in state revenue bonds, in an effort to encourage private-sector investment in the affected areas.

The mayor said she hopes the program will help attract new residents to the city.