Saturday, March 19, 2011

The HUD faucet turns on in Baltimore

Big HUD redevelopment grant for West Baltimore. It's one of the 17 Choice Neighborhoods Initiative grants announced yesterday. Details (via the press release) here and here.

Baltimore's project is to "reconnect" upscale Bolton Hill with poorer neighborhoods that have more vacant properties. The Sun heard this from Charlie Duff, director of the grantee, Jubilee Baltimore Inc.:
"The plan will center on Pedestal Gardens, a 203-unit, federally subsidized housing complex managed by Foresight Affordable Housing, but also extend over an area that includes two schools and the Bolton Hill Shopping Center, Duff said.

"The theory of Choice Neighborhoods is that if you can sort of fix, improve one of these developments, you can make it possible for the whole neighborhood around it to improve," Duff said."
These Choice Neighborhoods programs are supposed to be the successor to HOPE VI, which was cheered in some quarters but caused pain in others by destroying old project complexes and dispersing some of their residents to make space for smaller numbers of admittedly very nice mixed-income properties. (Remember the part in "The Wire" where they tore down the projects?) It seems possible Choice Neighborhoods might deal more gently with the existing residents, but we'll have to see.

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