On July 8, 2021 the Randallstown NAACP launched their Task Force on Revitalization of Security Square Mall in Woodlawn, Baltimore County, Maryland.
The COVID-19 crisis has been speeding-up the demise of America’s struggling shopping malls, which was well underway even before COVID hit. This could deal a devastating blow to communities that depend on them.
Of course, that economic value is often minimized by the absentee (usually out of state) ownership of the mall, and their predominantly being populated by national chain stores. Both of these factors syphon money out of the community.
While badly-located, badly-designed, and badly-planned malls are usually a devitalizing force in communities—especially their downtowns—they occasionally end up serve a useful economic purpose after having killed-off local merchants.
When a mall goes dark, a community loses more than just a place to shop and grab a slice of pizza at the food court. In some declining neighborhoods, the mall has become the sole remaining economic engine, hiring hundreds, if not thousands, of workers and providing a significant amount of dollars to the local tax base.
The Security Square Mall has been in decline ever since JCPenneys, Bennigans and IHOP closed in the early 2000s. There is one vacant anchor store that was once Sears. Bennigans and IHOP have been vacant for 20 years and have become an eyesore.
Security Square Mall is a prime piece of real estate which is an important hub to the community. To this end, the Randallstown NAACP launched a Task Force on Revitalization of Security Square Mall. This Task Force will look into barriers to revitalization and break down those barriers by bringing all groups together.
Numerous code violations including trash, potholes, illegally parked cars and track trailers plague the appearance of the mall.
“Malls die slowly, generally over a period of years,” said Lacy Beasley, president of the real estate advisory firm Retail Strategies. “At first one anchor closes and then another. For a mall to shut down completely, the mall has already been declared dead by the customer.”
The task force will offer input on the enhancement of Security Mall for retail, recreation, economic growth, aesthetics, public health, and ecological productivity, coordinated plans and interests affecting the greater community.
TASK FORCE MEMBERS:
- Mrs. Danielle Singley, Chair, Randallstown NAACP
- Mr. Ryan Coleman, President, Randallstown NAACP
- Senator Charles Sydnor III, District 44B
- Delegate Pat Young, District 44B
- Delegate Sheila Ruth, District 44B
- Mrs. Linda V Forsyth, Chief of Staff, Senator Delores G. Kelley, District 10
- Mrs. Kimberly Shiloh, Legislative Director, Delegate Benjamin Brooks, District 10
- Mrs. Shirley Supik, President, Liberty Road Community Council
- Mrs. Mary Breland, Acting President, Westview Park Improv. & Civic Association
- Mrs. Robin Harvey, Commissioner, Baltimore County Commission for Women
- Mrs. Barbara Hopkins, Executive Director of Neighborspace of Baltimore County Kirk
- Mitchell, Coordinator, Office of Community Engagement, Baltimore County
Security Square Mall opened in 1972. The mall features over 100 stores and restaurants, as well as a food court. Security Square Mall is located adjacent to the North American School of Trades. The anchor stores are Bayit Furniture, Set the Captives Free Outreach Center, Burlington, and Macy’s.
“Baltimore County residents in every neighborhood deserve vibrant communities with a high quality of life and a robust local economy,” said Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski.
“We look forward to working with the Task Force on the Revitalization of Security Square Mall, because we know that it can thrive as a world class shopping center and community hub, and we look forward to continuing our work with the community to revitalize this important regional anchor,” he concluded.
It’s hoped that these efforts will give the residents of the 1st district and Baltimore County a shopping experience that will boost pride in the neighborhood, and confidence in its future.
As readers of the 2020 book, RECONOMICS: The Path To Resilient Prosperity know, that latter goal—boosting confidence on the local future—is the key goal of any revitalization initiative.
Photo of Security Square Mall courtesy of Randallstown NAACP.