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"Reverse Baltimore's population slide: Bring on the immigrants
Baltimore had a net loss of some 7,000 residents between the summer of 2017 and the summer of 2018, according to the latest Census Bureau estimate. That's the biggest single-year loss in nearly two decades, the fourth consecutive annual loss since 2015 - one of the worst years in the long life of the city - and it's bad news, but not surprising news.
There are many reasons for it: An insane rate of shootings and homicides; the continued movement of families to the suburbs, something reflected in declining school enrollment; the persistent image of lawlessness since the April 2015 unrest; the shortage of police officers, low morale among cops who remain on the job, the turnover among commissioners; weak or uneven political leadership, and, as always, a property tax rate double the rate in the counties.And we didn't even know about the current mayor-on-leave's dealings with her "Healthy Holly" books until last month. So you can add that mess to the mix.
Despite the impressive number of new residential buildings, and the rise of Harbor East, despite all the stories about investment, there is still a lack of the big, transformative development Baltimore needs in areas that have been neglected for a long time, particularly on the west side. The Maryland governor's decision in 2015 to kill the Red Line light rail system and, the next year, to halt the State Center redevelopment - both multibillion-dollar projects, both important to the west side - cannot be ignored when you're looking at investment and confidence in the city. If you build or widen roads in the suburbs, that's where you'll see more development. Knocking down empty row houses in Baltimore might seem like a good idea, but without a development plan in place, it's not much of a strategy for reversing population loss."