Baltimore, Maryland Neighborhood Revitalization Efforts

What are the Program goals?  

Baltimore city leaders have set a goal to attract 10,000 new families (some 22,000 individuals) by 2021. In addition to place-based strategies targeting downtown and neighborhoods, the city is seeking young knowledge workers and demonstrating its openness to immigrants. Extensive investments in education and new school construction are designed to lure families with children. (A partnership with the state will invest $1.1 billion in new public school construction - some 10 to 15 new buildings - and rehabilitation.) Among the city's signature initiatives are the Vacants to Value program to rehabilitate vacant housing and offer home buyer incentives. Part of this program includes the demolition of 4,000 blighted structures meant to leave some land vacant as green space or as adjunct side yards for existing homes or community gardens. The Mayor also intends to cut city property taxes by 20 percent (reducing the cost of government in the process) and invest in core infrastructure, including mobility strategies. 

Who are the partners?

A diverse set of partnerships lie at the heart of these efforts. The coalitions draw expertise and support from philanthropies, real estate developers, educational institutions, church congregations, community development stakeholders, business owners, housing advocates, and city officials. Partnerships focus on holistic approaches that address challenges of housing, neighborhood stability and vitality, human capital development, commercial improvement, and grass roots empowerment. Among the most prominent are: Southeast Community Development Corporation (SECDC); East Baltimore Development, Inc. (EBDI); Central Baltimore Partnership (CBP); BRIDGE Maryland; and the University of Maryland BioPark at the West Baltimore medical center campus.

How is/are the effort(s) financed?

Public, private and nonprofit sources of financing support each community development organization. The public monies come from both the state and the city; the private sector has brought resources to bear as have philanthropies and other nonprofit anchor institutions such as colleges and universities (Johns Hopkins, Univ. of Maryland, and MICA among others). Generally each discrete project has its own unique mix of funding sources.

Other Details

The challenges include a dearth of corporate leaders to coalesce around a shared agenda, few strong and well-capitalized community development financial institutions (CDFIs), the physical barrier of Interstate 83 (which structurally divides the city), polarization along lines of race and class, drug and crime issues, and a lingering problem with capacity inside the city government. A further issue is whether or not the city is effectively coordinating and collaborating with these various community groups to help them achieve their maximum potential.  

When was/were program(s) launched?

Vacants to Value was announced in November 2010. Southeast CDC has been operating since 1971 (although under a different name at inception). The youngest initiative, Central Baltimore Partnership, has been in place since 2007.  

Resources:

Growing Baltimore, Neighborhood by Neighborhood, a case study prepared by the NLC.