Scott Administration Secures $12.4 Million for Chick Webb Recreation Center

~HUD approves loan guarantee for historic recreation center~

Baltimore, MDThe renovation and expansion of the Chick Webb Recreation Center in East Baltimore received HUD approval for a Section 108 Loan Guarantee of $12.4 million.  Section 108 provides Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds to communities as a source of low-cost, long-term financing for economic and community development projects that primarily benefit low- and moderate-income persons.

“Healthy communities thrive when they have vibrant, welcoming spaces to gather in,” said Marion McFadden, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, Office of Community Planning and Development, HUD. “This loan guarantee will support Baltimore’s continuing efforts to build up this neighborhood and create an environment for community engagement.”

Initially constructed in 1947, Chick Webb Recreation Center was the first community center and pool for African Americans in segregated East Baltimore. Located at 1401 East Monument Street, the Center was named after bandleader and drummer William Henry “Chick” Webb.  The facility was designated as a city Landmark in 2017 by the Baltimore City Planning Commission. The renovation, which will begin during the first quarter of this year, will include an exhibit and educational materials about Chick Webb and the Center’s importance to East Baltimore.

“We are grateful for this support from HUD to help us preserve and enhance this valuable asset to our community,” said Mayor Brandon M. Scott. “The renovation and expansion of the Chick Webb Memorial Recreation Center is a critical component of our Perkins Somerset Oldtown Transformation plan to convert distressed public housing into sustainable, thriving, mixed-income communities. In line with our commitment to equitable neighborhood development, we are creating an environment for our residents in East Baltimore to thrive.”

After completion, the Center will include an upgraded and accessible swimming pool and locker facilities, a new multipurpose gym/event space and exercise studio, basketball courts, classrooms, and a recording studio honoring the Center’s founder.  Total project costs are estimated to be $20,760,796.  The approved Section 108 loan funds will be leveraged by $8,460,796 in non-federal sources.  Loan Funds will be administered by the City’s Department of Housing & Community Development (DHCD) and will be repaid through the Agency’s annual CDBG allocation.

“This is a neighborhood initiative where we are creating positive change and developing a modern and regionally competitive recreation facility as part of this neighborhood transformation,” said Housing Commissioner Alice Kennedy.  “We are ecstatic about achieving the Section 108 loan approval and grateful for HUD’s continued support of this important transformational work.”

“Over the last few years, Baltimore City Recreation and Parks (BCRP) has worked with our City partners and the Chick Webb community to reimagine this historic space, said BCRP Director Reginald Moore.  “We are now excited to share that we have successfully completed the bid process to secure a contractor for the project. We are most thankful for the connection that we have grown with the community that has and will continue to guide this historic effort.”

“Our thanks go out to HUD and all the partners helping to move the Perkins Somerset Oldtown Transformation Plan forward,” said Housing Authority of Baltimore City President and CEO Janet Abrahams.  “This is all about housing, neighborhoods, and people, and we are not only transforming buildings and neighborhoods, but we are also transforming lives while elevating important legacies.”

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