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Project CORE shares plan for the demolition of 149 vacant buildings in 2017 Share your comments on proposed demolitions in West and East Baltimore

The Maryland Department of Housing & Community Development (DHCD) recently shared their plans to demolish a second round of vacant buildings under the Project CORE program. Since Project CORE (short for Creating Opportunities for Renewal and Enterprise) began last January, the program has supported the demolition around three hundred and seventy-five properties and granted around sixteen million in funding for community development projects. We may not find a new use for every vacant building in Baltimore but we want you to know what buildings Project CORE is tearing down and how can you share your comments.

613 S. Monroe Street, Baltimore

In the second year of Project CORE (known as Phase II), the state and Baltimore City are seeking to demolish one hundred and forty-nine buildings (grouped into thirty-eight “demolition clusters”). You can browse the list of demolition clusters in our open Google Sheet or with our interactive map. You can also see photographs of each demolition cluster on Flickr. You can compare this year’s properties to the list we shared last April before the first round of demolition.

1138 Mosher Street, Baltimore

If you look at our sheet, you can see demolition clusters in fifteen different neighborhoods. The largest number of clusters are in West Baltimore neighborhoods including Sandtown-Winchester, Upton, and Harlem Park (all part of the Old West Baltimore Historic District). In East Baltimore, affected neighborhoods include Broadway East, East Baltimore Midway, and Johnston Square. The vacant buildings are a mix of different ages, styles, and sizes. They include the one remaining building from the Alma Manufacturing Company; small, two-story alley houses on Mosher Street; early worker cottages on Lanvale Street; a distressed shingle-sided home in Arlington; and an unusual brick house on Franklintown Road.

78-84 S. Franklintown Road, Baltimore

Although DHCD administers Project CORE, Baltimore Housing selected these demolition clusters for the state. Last year, Baltimore Housing staff met with community groups and shared possible demolition clusters with residents. They also worked with the Baltimore City Department of Planning to collect feedback from residents on their priorities for demolition and community greening as part of the city’s new Green Network Plan.

The state’s preservation review process (commonly known as “Section 106”) gives Baltimore residents, preservation advocates, and community groups another opportunity to share comments or concerns on the proposed demolitions before the state can award funding to demolition contractors.

If you lead community organization affected by this program, we hope you can share any comments with DHCD by contacting Melissa Archer, Project Manager at melissa.archer2@maryland.gov.

We also want to hear your thoughts on Project CORE and these buildings. If we can find a new use for a vacant building, we might be able to avoid a demolition. Your feedback helps us continue to push for reinvestment in historic communities. You can share comments online or contact our director Johns Hopkins at hopkins@baltimoreheritage.org or 410-332-9992.

Finally, we want you to take a look at our new online resource for residents dealing with vacant buildings: Vacant Buildings 101. We are working with the Community Law Center to host workshops and publish an online guide to taking action on vacant buildings in your neighborhood. This program is supported by funding from Preservation Maryland and the Maryland Historical Trust through the Heritage Fund. Please take a look, share your comments, or sign up to join us at our next Vacant Buildings 101 workshop on March 25.

2858–2860 W. Lanvale Street, Baltimore, 21216

Baltimore Immigration Museum completes work on preservation mini-grant project Door repointing and repair stops leak at museum

Last October, Baltimore Heritage held our first preservation mini-grant “Pitch Party.” We put out a call for good ideas to help preserve Baltimore’s historic places and revitalize our historic neighborhoods and then threw a party to select nominations to receive small grants. Two projects received grants of $500 and another two received grants of $250.

One of our $500 grant award winners was the Baltimore Immigration Museum, located at the Immigrant House in the Locust Point neighborhood. The museum proposed repointing and repairing masonry above the main entry door to stop a leak that was slowly rotting away the woodwork on the door. This job was important in the short term to stop the leak and an important part of the museum’s long-term goal of restoring the building.

The Museum completed the work in early January and its directors are happy to report that the repairs worked: with the masonry shored up, the leak has stopped.

Special thanks to long-time member Ms. Brigid Goody for making the preservation mini-grant program possible, as well as everybody who participated in our first pitch party last fall. In addition to the Baltimore Immigration Museum, three other projects received mini-grant funding.

  • The Herring Run Archaeology Project received $500 to purchase supplies for a spring archaeology project.
  • Taylor’s Chapel in Mount Pleasant Park received $250 as part of a fundraising campaign to stabilize frescoes in this 1850s church that likely were painted by Constantino Brumidi, the fresco artist in the U.S. Capitol building.
  • Lastly, the Market Center Merchant’s Association received $250 to bring Baltimore City public school kids who participate in the Maryland History Day competition to the Market Center Area for a tour of Civil Rights heritage sites.

Stay tuned as we provide updates on these other mini-grant awardees!

Baltimore Heritage Awards Four Micro Grants for Four Great Ideas Winners Selected at Preservation Pitch Party

A gathering of people at the newly opened Baltimore Immigration Museum awarded four micro-grants for four great preservation ideas at Baltimore Heritage’s 2016 Preservation Pitch Party.  Supporters of the projects got three minutes each to pitch their project and then the crowd determined the recipients of the awards.

Making tough choices from the eight ideas that were presented, the following ideas received funding. As an indication of how compelling the projects were and how narrow the vote was, only four votes separated the winning projects.

  • $500 for the Baltimore Immigration Museum to repair the brickwork around the front door and prevent water from coming in.
  • $500 for the Herring Run Archaeology Project to continue their archaeology efforts in 2017. The group works in Northeast Baltimore identifying and excavating previously unknown archaeological sites in Baltimore’s Herring Run Park with neighbors and community schools.
  • $250 for the Market Center Merchant’s Association to bring Baltimore City public school kids who participate in the Maryland History Day competition to the Market Center Area for a tour of Civil Rights heritage sites. This year’s History Day topic is “Taking a Stand in History.”
  • $250 for Taylor’s Chapel for a project to stabilize frescoes in this 1850s church that likely were painted by Constantino Brumidi, the fresco artist in the U.S. Capitol building.

We’ll be following these projects with updates, event announcements, and calls for volunteers as they unfold this winter and spring. Stay tuned!

We need your voice at the Preservation Pitch Party! Help select projects to receive preservation mini-grants

Baltimore is full of compelling historic sites, buildings, and neighborhoods each with dedicated people working hard for their preservation. To support these people and their projects, Baltimore Heritage will distribute four small grants during a “we the people” Preservation Pitch Party. Supporters of eight preservation projects around Baltimore City will get three minutes to pitch their project and at the end, the crowd will decide which ideas to award. We hope you can join us to contribute your vote!

Last month we asked for preservation groups to submit ideas for projects to fund. We whittled the excellent submissions own to a final group of eight. Of those eight proposals, two $500 grants and two $250 grants will be distributed at the pitch party. Below is list of the eight finalists:

  • Baltimore Immigration Museum is seeking funds for work that needs to be done on their building, including the partial re-pointing and repair of the brick facade around the entry door in order to prevent future water infiltration into the structure.
  • Friends of St. Vincent Cemetery in Clifton Park seeks funds to pay for weed and brush removal tools, wheelbarrows, and work gloves to assist with their work cleaning and restoring this abandoned but no longer forgotten 5.3 acre cemetery.
  • The Herring Run Archaeology Project is looking for funds to continue their work in 2017. The group works in Northeast Baltimore identifying and excavating previously unknown archaeological sites in Baltimore’s Herring Run Park with neighbors and community schools.
  • Irish Railroad Workers Museum requests funds to help promote and increase an audience for their “Second and Fourth Saturdays Presentations” for 2017.
  • Taylor’s Chapel asks for money to restore historic frescos believed to be painted by Constantino Brumidi, who painted the frescoes in the US Capitol building.
  • Friends of Gwynns Falls/Leakin Park is looking to fund an independent assessment from expert consultants to determine the feasibility of the stabilization or restoration of two historic field stone structures (ca.1858) in Winans Meadow in Leakin Park.
  • G. Krug & Son Ironworks Museum seeks funds to help market their 2016 Holidays at Krug, an annual winter event that allows the public to experience the entirety of the 206-year old blacksmith shop.
  • The Market Center Merchants Association wants funding for the Market Center History Day Celebration to bring students in for a tour and discussion of historic sites in around Lexington Market.

The pitch party takes place on Friday, October 21, 2016 from 5:00 to 7:00 pm at the Baltimore Immigration Museum, immediately after the conclusion of Baltimore Heritage’s 2016 Bmore Historic Conference. Please join us and cast your vote and hear about great preservation ideas in Baltimore. The pitch party is free and will include a wine and cheese reception. Space is limited to 75. Reserve your seat at the pitch party today!

For questions, please contact Johns Hopkins at 410-332-9992 or hopkins@baltimoreheritage.org.

Storefront Improvement Grant Program Kicks Off

In July, we joined our nonprofit partners the Neighborhood Design Center and AIA Baltimore to kick off a new program through the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development to rehab and improve commercial storefronts that were damaged during the civil unrest in Baltimore last April. The program, called the Storefront Improvement Grant Program, is providing $650,000 to fix storefronts along main streets from Pennsylvania Avenue in Sandtown Winchester to Eastern Avenue in Highlandtown.

From a pool of 145 applications, 26 projects were selected to receive funds. Each business will get up to $10,000 for improvements, as well as an architect volunteering through the American Institute of Architects Baltimore Chapter. After working out a design with the owner and architect, youth training teams from Civic Works and Living Classrooms will do the actual construction. We at Baltimore Heritage are helping by providing assistance on meeting historic preservation standards to ensure the redesigned storefront helps the owner and the surrounding neighborhood.

In addition to Sandtown Winchester and Highlandtown, the following other neighborhoods are slated to have storefront improvement projects: Pigtown, Waverly, Park Heights, Hollins Market/Union Square, and Market Center/Downtown. With project design work beginning this month, construction for the first set of storefronts is expected in the early fall.