Anchoring Our Communities

Mayor Rawlings-Blake and leaders of anchor institutions sign the Baltimore City Anchor Plan pledge

Originally posted in The Rawlings-Blake Review #207

Last weekend, I joined with over 1,000 mayors from across the country to discuss the challenges that cities like ours currently face. Like most other cities, Baltimore is forced to work with constrained resources, worsened still by continued cuts to federal programs. With limited resources, local leaders must think more innovatively.

That’s why this week I announced the Baltimore City Anchor Plan (BCAP), a new, collaborative effort working with major leaders in the fields of education, research, and medicine, to foster economic growth and spur community development across Baltimore.

Across the City, anchor institutions drive economic development in the communities they serve. They employ thousands of people, many of whom are City residents, and they inject hundreds of millions of dollars into the local economy each year.

These anchor institutions—including our BCAP partners Bon Secours Baltimore Health System, Coppin State University, Johns Hopkins University, Loyola University Maryland, Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA), Morgan State University, Notre Dame of Maryland University, and University of Baltimore—are unparalleled in their potential to shape neighborhood revitalization and drive economic development in Baltimore.

Across Baltimore, new developments are revitalizing our neighborhoods, and much of the credit belongs to these institutions. This includes projects like the $72 million dollar Earl G. Graves Business School at Morgan State University, or the $80 million dollar Science and Technology Center at Coppin State.

Through BCAP, anchor institutions and the City will work together to address priority areas that include public safety, local hiring, local purchasing, and quality of life. BCAP will serve as an inter-agency forum for City agencies to coordinate with anchors on City services and initiatives such as homeownership incentives, neighborhood revitalization, recreational assets, public works and transportation capital investments, and business and employment services.

The partnership will guide future investment across the city under one unified vision and continue to position Baltimore for future growth—creating more opportunities for every community to succeed.

The Baltimore City Anchor Plan is based on a simple idea: our fortunes are interconnected. We cannot have strong anchor institutions without strong neighborhoods, and we cannot have strong neighborhoods without strong anchor institutions.

I’m so blessed to be mayor of a city with so many community partners who are willing to step up and work with government to move our city forward. Baltimore has weathered the recent economic downturn better than many other big cities, due in part to the commitment our anchor institutions have shown to their surrounding communities.

Together, we can continue to move Baltimore forward in the midst of economic uncertainty by continuing to support jobs, infuse millions of dollars into our local economy, and properly direct resources to rebuild our communities.

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