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Budget includes $5 million for demolition in East Baltimore

ANNAPOLIS — The General Assembly has approved a $3.5 billion capital budget that includes money for major Baltimore revitalization projects, infrastructure improvements for a proposed Western Maryland casino and renovations of Ripken Stadium in Harford County.

The Senate voted 47 to 0 on Monday — with no debate — to approve a rewritten spending plan negotiated by senators and delegates in a small conference committee, convened when the Senate and House of Delegates passed separate versions of House Bill 101.

The House on Saturday approved the amended capital budget 100 to 31, thus passing both of Gov. Martin O’Malley’s budget proposals — a $37 billion operating budget for fiscal year 2014 and the $3.5 billion capital budget, which pays for construction projects through bonding.

The fiscal 2014 capital budget creates $1.1 billion in new state debt from bonds.

The construction plan includes $5 million for demolition on the site of East Baltimore Development Inc. and $2 million for wastewater treatment improvements at Rocky Gap State Park in Allegany County, work necessitated by a casino expected to open this summer at Rocky Gap Lodge & Golf Resort.

It also includes $480,000 to renovate the Sports Legends Museum near Oriole Park at Camden Yards. The Senate had proposed eliminating the museum’s appropriation from the capital budget and shifting the cost to the Maryland Stadium Authority.

The conference committee also earmarked $2 million to pay for renovations at Towson University’s softball stadium.

The budget plan includes $50.5 million for a new business school complex at Morgan State University, $21.5 million to complete the final leg of the Inter-County Connector and $450,000 for improvements at Ripken Stadium in Aberdeen, where the Baltimore Orioles’ minor league affiliate, the Aberdeen Ironbirds, plays its home games.

The legislature failed to pass a complete budget package until a May special session last year, after a late agreement reached by Democratic leaders was left in tatters as the regular 90-day session expired.