Do you believe that equitable access to housing creates stronger communities?
Then send a letter to County Executive Calvin Ball and members of County Council, asking them to take fiscal responsibility and utilize the $64 Million already set aside for the New Cultural Center project.
There is no reason for Howard County Council to delay the project and walk away from $64 Million that will bring a trove of cultural riches to our community and pave the way for hundreds of Howard County families to live and thrive in Columbia.
From 2014-2017, PATH leaders and partners from other organizations fought for and won 900 units of affordable housing in Downtown Columbia.
These units would be spread throughout several exciting mixed-use developments as part of a landmark development agreement. The first of these projects scheduled to be built is the New Cultural Center [pictured], an arts and recreation center that includes market-rate and affordable housing units, on the existing Toby’s Dinner Theater site.
This summer, Howard County Council [pictured] moved the New Cultural Center project funds into contingency, which means they’re holding off on funding the project until a later vote. However, if the money isn’t released in the next two months, the project timeline will slip.
If the timeline slips, Howard County will lose $64 Million in tax credits that the state has awarded toward the construction of affordable housing at the New Cultural Center site. The tax credits require that construction be complete and open for occupancy by the end of 2024, which means construction must begin in spring 2021, or Howard County forfeits the money.
Losing those $64 Million places the entire project at risk, tarnishes the county’s fiscal reputation, and threatens the future of subsequent projects in the landmark development agreement, including the promised 900 units of affordable housing. If the first project in the deal can’t be built because we’ve walked away from $64 Million in funding, then the rest of the projects aren’t likely to be built, either.
Though the fiscal year has already begun and the budget has been approved, there is still hope! In September, County Executive Calvin Ball [pictured] can file legislation and the Council can vote to release these project funds from contingency so construction can begin in spring 2021.
Send a letter asking County Executive Ball and members of County Council to take action TODAY!
It’s easy—over 100 supporters have done so already, and we’ve prepared a letter template to get you started. Simply click the button below, add a few personal details, and hit send.
For more information and other ways you can help save this project, go to pathiaf.com/seal-the-deal.