January 28, 2019 - Neighborhood Tour
On the final Friday of every month, Live Baltimore heads out of the office and into one of Baltimore's 278 neighborhoods. Each month, we love what we find! January was no different.
January’s walking tour took us to two East Baltimore neighborhoods, Oliver and Broadway East. Both neighborhoods have seen recent investment, with renovation and new construction apparent on many blocks.
We kicked off our snowy Friday tour at CUPs Coffeehouse & Kitchen, a nonprofit workforce development program in Broadway East that provides eat-in and catering services while employing local youth.
Over hot coffee, two neighborhood residents, William Richards and Doris Terrell, told us about the history of Broadway East, the progress that’s been made and some of the challenges the neighborhood continues to see.
Once a strong, middle-class neighborhood made up of the families of those employed by nearby industry in Sparrows Point, Broadway East underwent a long period of disinvestment after the city’s de-industrialization. Though some longtime residents remain, there are many vacant houses just waiting to be brought back to life, said Terrell, who is also the chair of Broadway East’s board and a 40-year resident of the neighborhood.
Recent progress in the Broadway East neighborhood includes the renovation of the American Brewery building on Gay Street, which was renovated and reopened as the headquarters of nonprofit Humanim, Inc. Additionally, the Baltimore Food Hub—a 3.5-acre campus of food-related businesses—opened recently in a renovated space in the neighborhood. It now houses social enterprise food businesses City Seeds and School of Food.
Richards described serving as a volunteer landscaper for the New Broadway East Community Park, which opened on the site of 18 demolished vacant rowhouses at the corner of Gay and Federal streets. The park serves as a gathering space for the community, including monthly summer movie nights.
“Our goal is to get new, younger residents but that’s difficult with the existing housing stock,” Terrell said. “We have a strong, positive relationship with law enforcement and would like to see local businesses hire more local people.”
“Oliver is much farther along,” Terrell added. “We would like to someday be in their shoes.”
We continued our conversation outside, walking west along East Preston Street and crossing into the Oliver neighborhood where we met at the North Bond Street home of Pam Moore and her daughter, Hope.
Moore welcomed us into her home during a two-hour school delay for the morning’s snowfall. As an employee of Johns Hopkins, Moore was able to purchase her beautiful three-bedroom, three-story rowhome in 2015 using a combination of homebuying incentives, including Live Near Your Work, Vacants-to-Value and Buying Into Baltimore.
“It worked out,” she told us as she explained how she ended up deciding on the Oliver neighborhood. After getting to know her neighbors and meeting more community members, Moore said she felt comfortable with the community and even enrolled her daughter at nearby Commodore John Rodgers Elementary/Middle School.
After sneaking a peek at Moore’s home, including her gorgeously painted kitchen, we took a walking tour of Oliver. We walked past a pocket park, a playground, multiple murals and the Oliver Community Garden, where it was easy to see that the neighborhood was making progress with many renovations to be seen. We rounded out the tour by returning to Moore's home for a quick group photo before heading back to to the office.
Interested in learning more about Broadway East or Oliver? Read more about them on their neighborhood pages.