On an evening that can only be described as glorious, in a park that can only be described as beautiful, a ceremony was held to rededicate the Historic St. Paul Street Park (on St. Paul Street and Lafayette Avenue) as “The Michael J Deets Historic St. Paul Street Park.” That night was Friday June 6th, 2014. The event sponsored by (CBP partners), the Charles North Community Association and Jubilee Baltimore Inc., drew a (Joe Squared) pizza-lovin’ crowd that listened to the strains of bluegrass music and heard local luminaries speak of the multi-year effort that had gone into transforming the, once neglected, space into a photographer’s fever dream. Special guests included City Council President, Bernard C. “Jack” Young, and Councilman Carl Stokes and the creator of the park’s “We Are the People” mural, Dr. Bob Hieronimus. Dr. Hieronimus’ work (just one of the many improvements to the park) harmonizes beautifully with another gorgeous wall mural titled Welcome to Charles North “ by local artist Michael Owens and another stunning mural painted on floor of the park by Jessie Unterhalter & Katey Truhn (also local artists), as part of the Open Walls One project administered by CBP Partner Station North Arts & Entertainment, Inc.Together they form the most unusual mural installation in Baltimore, seamlessly covering all the non-green space in the park. The parks murals can be seen on local TV commercials highlighting living in Baltimore. And they are complemented by the unique park benches designed and built by local artist and architect, Sergio Martinez.. The renovations and upgrades to the park which include infrastructure, as well as the “Welcome to Charles North” mural, were made possible by grants from Healthy Neighborhoods Inc., residents and business owners; and the work of the Central Baltimore Partnership through its HCPI Spruce-Up program (funded by the Robert W. Deutsch Foundation). The “We are the People” mural was funded by Dr. Bob Hieronimus through the Myerhoff Foundation”
Real estate developer, Telesis Corporation, was designated by the Housing Authority of Baltimore, City in coordination with residents of the Barclay/Midway/Old Goucher Coalition as, the master planner and developer in those communities, which are known by the acronym, ‘BMOG.’ Telesis’ divides its overall project into different phases which include both rental and for sale units. It recently achieved numerous milestones; Telesis completed construction on its Phase 1 Homeownership and 13 of the last 15 were sold, for a total of 35 new homeowners in Barclay. For its Phase 2 project, Telesis’s rental construction was completed in June and fully leased in July with a waiting list. For Phase 2 Homeownership, all demolition is complete, and excavation and fill work are underway for the 34 new homeownership opportunities.
New programming with a special emphasis on STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) is being developed at both Margaret Brent Middle/Elementary School and Barclay Middle/Elementary School. Both schools were accepted as Arts Every Day Schools, which will increase exposure to arts for students and bring professional development opportunities to teachers. Margaret Brent has chosen “Arts Integration” as its flagship program, while Barclay will bring more state of the art STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) opportunities in partnership with Johns Hopkins Whiting School of Engineering. Additionally, the Margaret Brent Middle/Elementary School (through CBP’s HCPI Spruce-Up Grant, Healthy Neighborhood capital grant, a CSX donation, and community funds) has raised approximately $68,000 for playground renovations. Greater Homewood Community Corporation (GHCC) and CBP staff worked together to submit a $100,000 Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development Community Legacy grant application for additional renovations. If approved, it will enable the Margaret Brent school to complete playground renovations next year.
CBP , (with the assistance of the Charles Village Community Benefits District who provided security for the event) held two “Art Walk in Old Goucher” events in June on the 2100 block of N. Charles Street. (The third event was cancelled due to weather.) Twenty-five vendors and an estimated 300+ patrons participated in the events, which involved both tents and pop-up shops, and featured – visual art, music, jewelry, and top notch food. As a direct result, 3 long vacant stores used as pop ups have been leased to long term tenants. CBP is organizing a working group to develop a broader vacancy reduction strategy, and will capitalize on our relationships with landlords and existing businesses, to expand the number of vacant storefronts filled.
The GHCC Workforce Connections Program (which was originally developed by CBP) was designed to help people, (in zip codes 21201, 21202, and 21218) with job skill deficits, to improve their ability to function in the current competitive job market. It does extensive community outreach to further its mission of assisting unemployed/underemployed residents. In fiscal year 2014, Workforce Connections reached out to 300 adults. Of those 300 adults, 164 were registered in the Workforce Connections program. It was determined that 78 adults would require intensive case management. Through the program, 77 adults were successfully placed in employment during Fiscal Year 2014. Job placements were done in various fields including construction (through Southway Builders on local projects, like the Centre Theater redevelopment), janitorial services, hospitality, construction, and human services. Pay ranged from $10 per hour to $25 per hour. An additional 26 program participants were referred to various training and apprenticeship programs in Baltimore City such as: JumpStart, Maryland Hospitality Training, and the Red Cross Nursing Program.
The Baltimore City Anchor Plan was signed by Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and eight anchor institution presidents in June. The plan lays out a series of goals for the city and describes how the institutions will work to achieve them through collaborative efforts and resource allocation. Specifically, the goals are designed to: increase public safety, local hiring & purchasing, improve quality of life and sustain development. The plan is a dramatic testimony to the anchors’ commitment to Baltimore City as a whole. CBP partners Maryland College Institute of Art, The Johns Hopkins University, and the University of Baltimore were all signatories to the plan, and have long advocated for just such a role for anchor institutions. The City’s commitment to implementing anchor instution strategies compliments and aligns CBP’s implementation of the HCPI Agenda through continued partnerships with Baltimore City.
On behalf of many partners, CBP submitted a $837,500 BRNI grant proposal for the Fiscal Year 2015, as well as a Community Legacy grant proposal for $625,000. The funds requested would go to a total of 14 partner projects and operating support for CBP, Jubilee Baltimore, and Waverly Main Street. The combined total state grant request was $1.46 million with over $12 million in project leverage. As described by the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD), the BRNI grants were created “to demonstrate how strategic investment in local housing and businesses can lead to healthy, sustainable communities with a growing tax base and enhanced quality-of-life.” The DHCD states that the Community Legacy grants are for: “mixed-use development consisting of residential, commercial and/or open space; business retention, expansion and attraction initiatives; streetscape improvements; Increasing homeownership and home rehabilitation among residents; residential and commercial facade improvement programs; real estate acquisition, including land banking, and strategic demolition; establishing funds to provide loan guarantees and credit enhancement to leverage other public or private financing.” Last year, CBP was successful in securing $1.485 million for 12 projects, including operating support for CBP, GHCC Workforce Connections and Jubilee Baltimore’s BRNI grant management.