May 11, 2018 - 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! April was no different.
Sunny skies and spring flowers greeted us on our walking tour of the Hillen neighborhood. Our visit began with a conversation about the best places to plant hostas and then our hosts and neighbors traded secrets for natural carpenter bee repellent.
Our host Yvette, a long-time Live Baltimore friend, is also a certified housing counselor! She has been educating and counseling prospective residents for years about buying their dream home in Baltimore City. In 2016 her own dream came true when she was able to purchase her own beautiful home.
While out touring homes on the market, Yvette knew she was home as soon as she stepped through the door of the home she later purchased. She told her agent to start writing the offer before she even made it up to see the second floor. Having won the Buying Into Baltimore incentive lottery, she purchased her end-unit, brick rowhome and quickly set about settling in and meeting her new neighbors.
We were able to sit down with this group of engaged neighbors to hear their heart-warming stories about what drew them to the Hillen community. We also heard about community features that have attracted them to stay, which include quality of life, walkability, convenience and the family-friendly environment.
Another neighbor, Shirley, told us how she had moved to Hillen more than 40 years ago with her young family. As her children grew up, she was able to watch other families grow. And while in other communities, families tend to move away over time, in Hillen, they remain rooted in the neighborhood. She smiled and noted that one of her neighbors moved in when he was just 10 years old and that she's been able to watch him grow up. Now he owns his childhood home and is a grandparent himself.
Sadie and her husband were looking for a home in the late 1970's and found their Hillen home complete with a white picket fence in the backyard. They have stayed in the house long enough to renovate their kitchen, not once, but twice!
After hearing from our new friends, we set out to see all of the things they love most about their community. As we walked along the quiet streets, we talked about the connection between the Hillen neighborhood and Morgan State University. The university borders the neighborhood to the east and is heavily invested in being a great neighbor. Morgan donates their printing services for The Hillen Road Improvement Association (HRIA) to create a monthly neighborhood newsletter which is delivered to all of the residents in the area.
The HRIA also produces fun programming for neighbors to interact and get to know each other. Their recent Sip and Paint night was a success, and they're planning a "Meet N' Greet Community Festival" in June.
We ended our walk back at Yvette's house. It was evident throughout the tour that neighbors take great pride in their quiet, friendly community. We can't wait to show off this neighborhood on June 2nd at our Trolley Tour! With a beaming smile and a full heart, Yvette proudly declared "This is my neighborhood!".