Broadway corridor: New business association aims to address crime, vagrancy

Written by on November 6, 2013 in Neighborhood News - No comments

Photo by Erik Zygmont

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At an Oct. 29 work group meeting, the Broadway-Area Business Association was established to take the lead in improving the S. Broadway corridor.

David Garza, an economic development officer with the Baltimore Development Corporation, underscored the need for the corridor to have “businesses unified as one group” to promote the future of the area.

Daniel Kim, who owns GCWireless at 522 S. Broadway, agreed to be the Broadway-Area Business Association’s first president.

“I’m meeting with the Councilman Kraft and his staff to go over strategies in a few days,” said Kim in a follow-up conversation. “Among our first goals is getting membership up. I believe that there are about 50 businesses in the general area. We will include businesses located on Broadway from Fleet St. north, but also along the side streets too. They need a voice as well. The more voices we have, the more we can get done,” Kim said, adding that recruiting the area’s Latino business owners was especially important.

Kim said his main objectives as president are reducing crime and vagrancy—“to me, they go hand in hand”— promoting economic development, and attracting new businesses to the area.

Also at the meeting, representatives from city agencies gave summaries of what the S. Broadway corridor work group has accomplished.

A representative from Homeless Services, a program of the Mayor’s Office of Human Services, reported that at least four homeless persons from the Fell’s Point area were working with Homeless Services staff to come off the street. The staff member noted that Homeless Services employs a five-person team that is assigned twice a week to the entire Southeast Baltimore area.

Regarding the vagrancy issue in the corridor, Joanne Masopust, president of the Fell’s Point Community Organization, who attended the meeting, asked Kraft whether the city had made any headway in its discussion of opening a citywide sobriety center—also known as a “drunk tank.”

“We have not forgotten,” Kraft said. “We have had conversations with the Police Commissioners’ office and the State’s Attorney’s Office. They need to make a decision at those levels. There’s really nothing that citizens can do right now.”

Kraft added that he hopes the new business association will meet with local community associations on a quarterly basis.

“A strong business association will help solidify the community,” he said.

by Danielle Sweeney

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