July 15, 2015 at 4:53 pm EDT | by Steve Charing
Demolition forces move of Pride block party
Baltimore Pride block party, gay news, Washington Blade

The last Baltimore Pride block party was held in 2013. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

Just as locals thought the 2015 Baltimore Pride block party was returning to its familiar Eager and Charles streets locale after a one-year absence, a scheduling snafu by the City of Baltimore threw a wrench into those plans. Officials issued a permit to perform demolition and repaving of the parking lot (adjacent to Club Hippo and Grand Central Station nightclub) that has traditionally been used to host Pride vendors during the block party.

Additionally, the building on the north side of the parking lot (1010 N. Charles St.) has been demolished. Pride coordinator Paul Liller said he was notified of the parking lot construction in early June. News of the construction permit came months after Baltimore Pride submitted its permit to use the space. This can be seen as an oversight by the city, says Liller, which essentially issued two permits for the same space during the same period of time.

After meeting with city officials, the fire department and the permit office in mid-June, it was discovered that the construction would not be completed in advance of the block party on July 25, and an alternate location needed to be secured. Baltimore Pride secured the parking lot at the corner of Cathedral and Brexton streets, traditionally dubbed “the lesbian lot” as well as an adjoining parking lot on Charles Street, in front of Mt. Vernon Stable. Those lots are connected by a path.

Alcohol will be served in the space. Anyone who wishes to drink in the space will need to purchase a wristband. Bands will be available for sale on site, at the Hippo, and through a pre-sale at the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Community Center of Baltimore and Central Maryland (GLCCB) in the week leading up to Pride. Vendors have been notified of the new footprint. A detailed map will be released in advance of the block party.

Baltimore Pride, a function of the GLCCB, is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year. After receiving community feedback that criticized its move to a two-day event in the Mount Royal area in 2014, GLCCB officials decided to return to the Mount Vernon area in 2015.

“The discovery of a construction permit being issued after we submitted our own permit was upsetting, but I’m confident that the new space, which is mere feet away from our traditional footprint, will still deliver all the fun and excitement that Baltimore Pride revelers have come to expect,” Liller, who is also GLCCB deputy director, told the Blade.

The annual parade and block party will occur on July 25 with the Sunday festival to return to Druid Hill Park on July 26. The parade, which traditionally took place along Charles Street, will march along Cathedral Street instead — another change.

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