Mayor Catherine Pugh announced on Wednesday a new task force that will focus on the development of artist housing in Baltimore following the closure of the Bell Foundry space deemed unsafe by city officials.

The Safe Arts Space Task Force will begin to meet in January and is expected to have a working plan within five months, Pugh said.

"We want to make sure that nothing like that happens here in Baltimore," Pugh said, of the Oakland tragedy. "We're always concerned about the public safety of people in the city. It's non-negotiable," Pugh said.

The task force will be made up of artists, local art organizations, legal counsel and developers. It will be co-chaired by attorney Jon Laria and banker Frank McNeil.

Some of the issues the task force will consider are permitting, city housing codes, how to finance and how to build affordable housing.


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