On October 21, 2022 in Maryland, new awardees were announced for six state-level revitalization programs administered by the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD). This is the kind of effort that would work especially well with the new revitalization and resilience-building tools now being offered by the RISING PLACES initiative.
One example: the City of Brunswick was awarded $200,000 from the State Demolition Fund, a statewide program aimed at catalyzing activities that accelerate economic development and job production in existing Maryland communities.
This award will be used towards the renovation and refurbishment of the Berlin House, at 9 S. Maple Ave. The house will become an interpretative historic house showing life in Berlin (Berlin is the former name of Brunswick) in the 1890’s.
The City of Brunswick was also awarded $50,000 through the Community Legacy program which are awarded to projects in designated Sustainable Communities throughout Maryland.
This award will be used for improvements to the parking area across from Smoketown Brewing Station. Mayor Nathan Brown stated “this parking lot is an important project in downtown Brunswick. As businesses continue to locate in the west end of the City, parking demands must keep pace with revitalization efforts.”
Brunswick Main Street was awarded $50,000 in Community Legacy funds for the continuation of their Façade and Interior Improvement grant program, which assists property owners in the designated Main Street district.
Funds from this program have been used in the past for new roofs, masonry work, HVAC improvements, electrical system upgrades, windows, signage, and flooring.
Mayor Brown expressed his pleasure at the continued support from the State of Maryland, particularly the Governor’s office and Department of Housing and Community Development. “I am thrilled with the relationships we have established with State agencies. Their support has been paramount in Brunswick’s efforts to bring great projects to fruition.”
The State Revitalization grants are administered by the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) through six different programs.
These six programs support revitalization and redevelopment projects and activities including: business expansion and retention; streetscape improvements; homeownership and home rehabilitation incentives; commercial improvement programs; community facilities; mixed-use development, and demolition activities.
Governor Hogan stated “Our state revitalization programs are a shining example of how we can work together to create impactful change and improve the quality of life for residents.”
Nearly $72 million was awarded to 224 projects and activities that promote community redevelopment and economic revitalization. Counties and jurisdictions across the state received awards through one or more of the six programs.
“The partnerships that drive these projects across our state are crucial to spurring economic growth in Maryland’s diverse and vibrant communities,” said Governor Larry Hogan. “Our state revitalization programs are a shining example of how we can work together to create impactful change and improve the quality of life for residents.”
The six programs will support revitalization and redevelopment projects and activities including: business expansion and retention; streetscape improvements; homeownership and home rehabilitation incentives; commercial improvement programs; community facilities; mixed-use development, and demolition activities.
Strategic Demolition Fund.
The Strategic Demolition Fund, a statewide program aimed at catalyzing activities that accelerate economic development and job production in existing Maryland communities, awarded $7.5 million to 22 projects, including:
- Reconstruction of the cabin of Harriet Tubman’s Father, Ben Ross, to support the economic, cultural, and historic trades workforce development in Cambridge (Dorchester County)
- Stabilization and exterior rehabilitation of the 1913 Union Railway Station building on Railroad Avenue, to allow for future development, culminating ultimately in the creation of a hub along the Salisbury Rail Trail (Wicomico County)
- Ongoing rehabilitation of a vacant property in Indian Head (Charles County) to continue the Maryland Technology Center.
Governor Hogan’s signature Project C.O.R.E., or Creating Opportunities for Renewal and Enterprise is an initiative to eliminate blight in Baltimore City and make way for green space, affordable and mixed use housing, and new opportunities for businesses. The initiative has removed or stabilized more than 5,200 vacant units in Baltimore. Project C.O.R.E. awarded $21.25 million to 26 projects, including:
- Creation of a mixed-use project at the former auto service center in Remington to become a hub for service and connected urban living and anchored by Wide Angle Youth Media
- Revitalization of the historic Mayfair Theater, including retention and stabilization of façade, as well as building new units, a parking garage and retail space
- Improvement to infrastructure related to the Perkins Somerset Oldtown transformation plan.
Baltimore Regional Neighborhood Initiative.
The Baltimore Regional Neighborhood Initiative (BRNI) is designed to support redevelopment in communities within the Baltimore Beltway. More than $14 million was awarded to 66 projects, including:
- Ongoing redevelopment of the historic Lexington Market
- Stabilization of a 6,000-square-foot building in Upton’s Marble Hill that was featured in the 1953 Green Book as a food hall and coworking space
- Numerous awards to community organizations for neighborhood clean-up and façade improvement activities.
National Capital Strategic Economic Development Fund.
Similar to BRNI, the National Capital Strategic Economic Development Fund (NED) provided $11.2 million in funding for 29 projects in communities in and around the Capital Beltway, including:
- Rehabilitation of the Town of Brentwood’s fire station into the new town center
- Demolition and pre-development for a new mixed-use, mixed-income, transit-oriented, intergenerational community in Silver Spring that will include affordable housing units
- Demolition and infrastructure improvements for the redevelopment of the former hospital site in Landover to create a mixed-use community that includes quality commercial, retail and residential buildings.
Community Legacy awarded $8 million to 64 projects in designated Sustainable Communities throughout Maryland. Some of these projects include:
- Rehabilitation of the historic State Theater in Havre de Grace (Harford County), including the installation of a comprehensive fire suppression system to reduce fire risk and provide benefits for the arts and entertainment focus of the city
- Continuation of the renovation and construction of 12 affordable, for-sale condos in historic downtown Frederick to be sold to Habitat for Humanity-qualified, first-time homebuyers
- Rehabilitation of a building in Cascade (Washington County) on the former Fort Ritchie property to preserve a historic Japanese Nisei mural and to turn the dilapidated historic structure into an artisan village.
Seed Community Development Anchor Institution Fund.
Another $10 million in grants and loans were provided to higher education institutions and hospitals by the Seed Community Development Anchor Institution Fund (SEED) for community development projects in disinvested areas of the state. The funds supported 17 projects, including:
- Rebuild the Mens and Families Workforce Community Center into a community hub for employment, health, and violence reduction services to the East Baltimore community in partnership with Johns Hopkins University
- Design and construction of a public pedestrian/bike pathway linking Gwynns Falls Trail at MedStar Harbor Hospital to Nursery Road Light Rail Station
- Rehabilitation of the Old Ellicott City Jail (Howard County) as a Center for Climate, Heritage and Preservation Studies in partnership with the University of Maryland.
“Over the last seven years, we’ve expanded our state revitalization programs, including the addition of Project C.O.R.E, allowing even more opportunity for investment across the state,” said DHCD Secretary Kenneth C. Holt. “Working with our partners to bring these projects to life also stimulates other public, private and nonprofit investment to revitalize communities, and spurs other programs that go hand in hand with revitalization efforts.”
Photo of Historic Ellicott City (one of the winners) by Scott Saghirian via Wikipedia.