Baltimore City Considers Sale of Parking Garages to Fund Recreation Centers

To raise revenue for recreation center improvements, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake has proposed selling four city-owned parking garages. However, some are questioning whether this plan makes sense in the long-term.

As reported by the Baltimore Business Journal,

The mayor’s office estimates the garages could be sold for $40 to $60 million. Such a sale price would be much larger than the amount of money they make for the city each year — together, the four garages generated net income of $2.8 million in 2014.

That’s not counting taxes, but the mayor’s office doesn’t anticipate tax revenue changing with the sale. The garages actually pulled in $8.7 million in gross revenue, only to have operating expenses and debt payments eat into that.

Rawlings-Blake anticipates the city would have to sink more money into the garages if it continues to own them, she said Wednesday.

City Council President Jack Young has expressed concern with this plan,

City Council President Bernard C. “Jack” Young has been among those questioning the long-term financial wisdom of the plan. He has not changed his stance, said spokesman Lester Davis.

“It’s still a concern,” Davis said. “He’s certainly not in any rush to unload property that is, by all accounts and all parties involved, an absolute asset.”

Young doesn’t dispute that investments should be made in recreation centers, Davis said. But he’d rather see the money come from other places in Baltimore’s budget.