Maryland Putting $11M ‘Down Payment’ Toward West Baltimore Development
Gov. Wes Moore is directing $11M in state funding to revitalize a large swath of West Baltimore, he announced Friday at Coppin State University.
The West North Avenue Development Authority will receive the funds, which were included in the $63B state budget Moore and lawmakers hammered out during the General Assembly session that ended in the spring, west-north-avenue-neighborhoods/44397447″>WBAL-TV reports.
A mix of occupied and vacant homes along West Mulberry Street across from the West Baltimore MARC station.
“This is a down payment on growth in West Baltimore,” Moore said during the event. “This is a down payment on economic development in West Baltimore. This is a down payment on a community that is not just ready, but a community that is eager to shape their own destiny.”
The West North Avenue Development Authority’s responsibilities in a section of the city it describes as “hindered by historic discrimination” include supporting development and approval of a neighborhood revitalization plan, according to its website.
The organization aims to improve the area by helping tackle issues ranging from economic development to transportation. Neighborhoods under the authority’s umbrella include Bolton Hill, Coppin Heights and Easterwood.
West Baltimore has been the target of various local and state economic development efforts for several years, particularly after demonstrations and riots, centered around Pennsylvania and North avenues, tore through the city following Sandtown-Winchester resident Freddie Gray’s death while in police custody.
Those new development efforts have run the gamut from creating the Pennsylvania Avenue Black Arts & Entertainment District to the state government launching Project C.O.R.E. in 2016 with an initial $75M aimed at demolishing blighted properties to clear the way for new development.
Renewal efforts have attracted some new investments, such as the recently rebranded Reservoir Square mixed-use project on the site of an area once known as “the Murder Mall.” However, West Baltimore, where Black residents make up nearly 76% of its populace, remains arguably the most disinvested area of the city, with more than 34% of residents living below the poverty line, well higher than the 23% citywide proportion.
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