The Board of Estimates voted on Wednesday to move BARCS and replace it with a new golf facility for Horseshoe Casino.
The lengthy agreement between the City and Horseshoe Casino would ultimately move the animal shelter out of its building, and swap it with Top Golf.
Before BARCS, the building on Stockholm Street used to be the Baltimore City Municipal Animal Shelter. For decades, cats and dogs have been rescued and placed in forever homes, but the organization has outgrown their facility.
When the non-profit started in 2005, they had just 10 employees, one veterinarian, and a budget of about a million dollars. Fast forward to 2016, and they’re up to 70 employees, four veterinarians, and a budget of $4 million. However, that pales in comparison to their ultimate goal of 125 employees, 8 veterinarians, and an $8 million budget, but that's unlikely to happen in their current space. The space is too small, so the City is proposing moving them to Giles Road at the site of a methadone clinic and shuttered multi-purpose center in Cherry Hill.
Their relocating to the Giles Road location helps save a development deal that was in jeopardy of falling through. BARCS was originally supposed to be relocated to Wegworth Lane but the seller of the property was unable to find a suitable site to relocate its business.
To keep the agreement made in 2012 with CBAC Gaming, LLC that included the sale of eight City-owned properties, BARCS included, the Baltimore Development Corporation proposed the Giles Road site.
The Mayor's Office said plans for the new BARCS facility should be ready in the fall with an overall timeframe of 12-18 months.
Executive Director, Jen Brause, sent the following statement to ABC2 News.
"BARCS is excited about the possibility of a move. Our programs and services have outgrown our current space, and we look forward to the potential for a larger and more efficiently designed facility. As a private, nonprofit organization, we value our partnership with Baltimore City and Baltimore City Animal Control. A new facility will allow us the opportunity to expand our lifesaving programs for both animals and people in our community. The details of the relocation are still in the early planning stages, and BARCS will share more information when we have finalized the plans."
The Mayor's Office said the City is paying for the cost of the new facility.
Caesars Regional President and Horseshoe Baltimore General Manager Erin Chamberlin had this say about the Board's approval:
“Today’s approval of the Land Disposition Agreement amendment will enable the BARCS team to expand its important work in a new and larger facility while, simultaneously, ensuring the Horseshoe Casino partnership can advance its vision for the city’s next great entertainment district in the Southern Gateway.”