African-American neighborhood celebrates $20 million dedicated to redeveloping and revitalizing a struggling shopping center

Back in July of 2021, we featured an article announcing the NAACP’s involvement in the potential redevelopment of Security Square Mall, an economically-troubled shopping complex whose renewal would go a long way towards revitalizing the surrounding, largely African-American neighborhood in Woodlawn, Baltimore County, Maryland.

Now, on April 26, 2022, some very good news arrived when Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski joined Speaker of the House Adrienne Jones in announcing that $20 million would be dedicated to a community-driven revitalization of the commercial area surrounding Security Square Mall.

All communities are worthy of investment and capable of revitalization, including Security Square which has long been a central community hub in Western Baltimore County that has not yet reached its fullest potential,” Olszewski said.

With this investment, we are becoming a fully committed partner in the effort to revitalize this critical economic and community anchor,” he added.

Olszewski allocated $10 million in County capital funding for Fiscal Year 2022, and Speaker Jones secured an additional $10 million in the state capital budget.

The Security Square Mall was built in the late 1970s and has served as a community hub ever since. There are multiple owners for various portions of the site.

Security Square Mall remains a vibrant place for local businesses and an important part of the community, but the property needs significant revitalization and investment,” Speaker Jones said.

This $20 million investment will jump-start this effort and help bring new life to the community,” she continued.

Last year, the County opened a new, state-of-the-art Woodlawn Health Center at the O.W.E. Center at Security Square Mall.

The 8800 square-foot site, managed by the Set the Captives Free Outreach Center, more than doubled the size of the previous center.

Earlier this month, the former IHOP and Bennigans buildings were razed, making way for new additions, including a new Chik Fil A scheduled to open this fall.

The Baltimore County Department of Planning has engaged hundreds of local residents about the future of the mall and surrounding area.

Members of the community have shared their concerns about code enforcement and other challenges at the site, as well as their thoughts about what they hope to see in the future.

The County says it remains committed to even more robust community engagement, and this fall plans to host a charrette – a process where community members come together with professional architects, design professionals, transportation experts and economists to formally help re-think what is possible for the property.

All input gathered so far will be incorporated into the charrette design process. The outcome of the process will be a realistic vision for the property’s future. Hopefully, that will be followed by an actual revitalization process, since vision and design alone seldom accomplish anything.

The $20 million from the County and State announced today will be critical to spur new development and amenities on-site that will be an asset to the community for years to come.

Photo of Security Square Mall courtesy of Randallstown NAACP.

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