500 Block of Baker Street Demoed to Support Blight Elimination and Druid Heights Revitalization

Mayor Catherine E. Pugh and the Baltimore City Department of Housing & Community Development (DHCD) Commissioner Michael Braverman kicked off the full-block demolition of 502-522 Baker St., in West Baltimore.  Secretary Kenneth C. Holt from the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development, a key partner in the city’s demolition efforts, was also on-hand.

Consistent with the administration’s plans to reduce the number of vacant and boarded properties to below 15,000 - the lowest number in over 15 years - 10 vacant houses are being demolished and future plans for the site involve the expansion of the multi-phase affordable homeownership project known as Bakers View Townhomes.  Development of Bakers View in the Druid Heights Community is in Phase II and includes the building of 14 additional townhomes, following the original 17 already constructed.  Upon full completion of all phases, Bakers View is slated to be comprised of 87 affordable townhomes.

“Essential to our priority of reversing decades-old neglect of neighborhoods and key corridors of our City, we are committed to eliminating abandoned, boarded houses to pave the way for new investment and long-awaited revitalization,” said Mayor Catherine E. Pugh.  “We owe it to residents to provide them neighborhoods and public spaces that support their quality of life, allowing them to raise families and enjoy the same opportunities of other areas of the City that are thriving as a result of partnerships, investment, and growth.”

The demolition of the 500 block of Baker Street supports the Mayor’s vision that is laid out in the City’s Community Development Framework that was introduced last month, and also helps with blight reduction; a core focus.

City, state, and private monies are being used to fund the Bakers View Townhomes project.  The project received $1.1 million in bond funds from DHCD; $400,000 in State Baltimore Regional Neighborhood Initiative Funds; and $250,000 in additional State funds.  Druid Heights CDC also received funds from Project CORE to stabilize vacant properties.

“The Druid Heights Community is located in one of our initial Impact Investment Areas,” stated Michael Braverman.  “The Druid Heights Community is a prime example of how we, working with our partners, can build from strength, focusing additional investments to capitalize on ongoing revitalization efforts that are helping transform communities.”

Other plans in the area include a new public square to be known as Druid Square.  Druid Square will be similar to other public squares in the City such as LaFayette Park.  Bordered by Baker St. to the north; Gold Street to the South; Druid Hill Avenue to the east; and Division Street to the west, Druid Square will sit on 2.7 acres of land and will feature high-quality green space and a Kaboom playground.  The Square is the vision of the Baltimore Green Network, DHCD, Druid Heights CDC, and community residents. Creating Druid Square ties into the City’s desire to build assets through greening vacant properties and reconnecting communities to Baltimore’s rich collection of parks and greenways.

 

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