From Year One: News and Views from Baltimore’s “tight little island,” 1972-1973

By Jean Lee Cole

The first issue of the Bolton Hill Bulletin appeared in April 1972, a large tri-fold newsletter that would undergo surprisingly few changes over the next 45 years.

From the start, editor Nancie Verkerke established the Bulletin as a staunch advocate for urban living and chatty proponent of neighborhood values—a much-needed tonic for a community that had weathered decades of transformation dating back to the post-World War II industrial boom. During Nancie’s long tenure as editor of the Bulletin, her vision of Bolton Hill never wavered: it was an embodiment of the best that Baltimore had to offer.

By the late 1960s, the building of I-83 as well as urban renewal had resulted in the demolition of entire blocks of houses, leaving swaths of vacant land east of Mount Royal, along North Ave., and between Mason and Eutaw Streets, from North Ave. all the way down to Dolphin St. The neighborhood had literally embodied its sense of itself as “a tight little island,” as longtime resident Ed Howard described it.

The Mount Royal Improvement Association established the Bulletin to cultivate cohesion within the several thousand occupants of this island, while also promoting it as a tool to bring in new residents. David Maulsby of the 1400 block of Park Ave. was an MRIA board member at the time and remembers the establishment of the Bulletin as a “common-sense step” to strengthen the community. The Bulletin, he said, “made people proud to live in Bolton Hill.”

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New Rector at Memorial Episcopal

Rector Maggiano with daughter
Rector Grey Maggiano with daughter Isabella

The Rev. Grey Maggiano has accepted the call to become Memorial Episcopal’s next rector. He will be leaving Trinity Cathedral in Miami for the midwinter delights of Baltimore. He is a graduate of Williams College and has master’s degrees from Georgetown University and Virginia Theological Seminary. He served as a Presidential Management Fellow in the White House and State Department and was a law enforcement and counter-narcotics program manager in Afghanistan.

Grey’s church experience includes development of youth and young adult programs, as well as significant mission, leadership and congregational work in Uganda, Rwanda, Honduras and Colombia. He is passionate about presenting the Gospel to a multigenerational, multicultural community.

Both Grey and his wife Monica are fluent in Spanish, and their daughter Isabella is being raised bilingually. Monica is a public relations professional who has worked in the public, private and nonprofit sectors. Grey’s hobbies include running, the Washington Nationals (let’s hope to convert him on that), Spanish literature, and teaching his daughter the finer intricacies of the infield fly.

The family expects to arrive in Baltimore in early March.

Grey will be working closely with Lois Eldred, Monty Howard, and the vestry and congregation of Memorial Episcopal for the long-term future. All are encouraged to come meet him.

Service times are Sundays at 8am and 10:30am and Tuesdays at 7am. Click here for more information about Memorial Episcopal Church.

Time to Renew Parking Permits

All Current Residential Parking Permits will expire March 31. If renewing, you may do so and pay for your permits online at the Parking Authority website beginning February 19th. Residents who are new to an RPP area MUST APPLY FOR PERMITS IN-PERSON. Visit here for more information about residential parking permits.

Permits and visitors passes are $20 each.

After purchasing online at least one day BEFORE you plan to pick up, you can collect your permits on our two Neighborhood Pickup Days, Saturday, March 12, & Saturday, March 19, from 8:30–12:30 at Brown Memorial Presbyterian Church on Lafayette and Park Ave. Enter at the Lafayette St. door.

You can also obtain your permits after March 24 at the Parking Authority Office, 200 W. Lombard Street, Suite B, 21201. Office hours are 8 am–5 pm, Monday through Friday. Plus, if you miss the Saturday dates in the neighborhood, the office will also be open on Saturday, March 26. (Note: you can park for free at the Arena Garage (entrance at 99 S. Howard St.) with validation from the Parking Authority Office.

In addition to credit cards, the Parking Authority also accepts checks and money orders made out to the Director of Finance. Cash is not accepted. Whether at a Neighborhood Pickup or at the Parking Authority Office, you will need to present current documentation when picking up your permits. These documents include your current Maryland Vehicle Registration with an Area 3 address, plus one of the following that shows an Area 3 address:

  • Current driver’s license
  • Proof of residency, such as a current lease signed by all parties that is not month-to-month.
  • Proof of home ownership (settlement papers)
  • Utility bill in your name that is at least 30 days old
  • Any photo ID

If your vehicle is registered out of state, you must register your vehicle in Maryland before being permitted to purchase a parking decal, unless you are a full-time student or a member of the military.

Out-of-state students and military must purchase a Non-Resident Permit from the MVA and present it at pick-up for the decal to be released.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the Parking Authority at rpp@bcparking.com or 443-573-2800, extensions 863, 845, or 851. You may also contact your Area 3 representative, Patsy Andrews, by email at pandrewsmd@yahoo.com.

And, when you pick up your passes, give a big thanks to Patsy, who has organized the convenient neighborhood pickup for many years.

Innovation Village Includes Bolton Hill

On a sunny but frigid Martin Luther King Day, city officials, university presidents and community activists came together on the corner of Pennsylvania and North Avenues to launch a community partnership, Innovation Village. This new urban revitalization concept extends startup and entrepreneurship resources to low-income communities to provide the basis for remedying decades-old inequalities.

Map of Innovation Village area
Map of Innovation Village area.

The partnership includes Coppin State and MICA as core educational institutions, as well as Baltimore’s entrepreneur and tech communities. As reported in Technically Baltimore, “There was also acknowledgement that past plans in West Baltimore, like James Rouse’s $130 million investment in Sandtown-Winchester, have little to show. But the core of residents spearheading the [Innovation Village] project believe this effort is different because it seeks to take advantage of assets West Baltimore already has, and comes directly from the community.”

This new path evolved over the last couple of years from the work of a group of Reservoir Hill neighbors, which resulted in them forming the Mount Royal Community Development Corporation (MRCDC). Innovation Village encompasses an area of 7 square miles, bordered by Druid Hill Park, Mondawmin Mall, Coppin State University, Pennsylvania Avenue, State Center, MLK Boulevard, Cultural Center, MICA, and the JFX.

Within the next 90 days, the partnership will be creating an action plan that could include seeking city and state financial incentives and other initiatives to market the area to employers and residents. As the Baltimore Business Journal reported, the 90-day steering committee “includes Betamore Co-Founder and Chairman Greg Cangialosi, Bithgroup Technologies CEO Robert Wallace, and Antson Capital Partners Managing Partner Anthony Rodgers”.

Two businesses have already opened or relocated to the area, Brioxy Innovation Network, which connects innovators of color from around the country, and Dovecote Cafe, a new coffee shop in Reservoir Hill.

For more information, see these links:

Bolton Hill Nursery Seeks Applications for Festival Grants

Wine Booth volunteers at Festival on the Hill
Wine Booth volunteers at Festival on the Hill

Last fall’s Festival on the Hill was once again a great success, producing significant funds to support the sponsor, Bolton Hill Nursery, as well as special projects that benefit the Bolton Hill neighborhood. In preparation for distributing the Festival’s proceeds to worthy projects, the Nursery is now seeking grant applications.

Any nonprofit that serves the 21217 zip code is invited to apply for a grant by the application deadline of March 11. Grants are awarded to special projects that would not happen or would be greatly diminished without the grant money. The maximum award is $1,000, and the grants will be distributed by May 6. Grant applications and further details are available on the Bolton Hill Nursery site here.

You can read about last year’s grant winners in this Bulletin article from July 2015.

Linden Park Apartments Update

Renovated Linden Park AparmentsThe team renovating the Linden Park Apartments reports good news for 2016: the transformation of the building will soon be complete. As construction winds down, the process of putting things back together and sprucing up the site begins.

In the 3rd and final wing of the building, new apartment construction has been completed through the 8th floor, with 228 of the 266 total units finished. Most importantly, all original Memorial Apartments tenants have now moved in to their final, renovated units. This major milestone fulfilled a commitment to the residents, as well as satisfying a major requirement for the project’s financing.

The few remaining apartments will be completed by the end of March.

Unfortunately, engineers identified structural problems in two wings of the building which will delay completion of the new ground floor offices, located where the porte cochere is now. So, construction will continue on this area until May. However, since most of this repair work is interior, the exterior work, including fencing and landscaping, is still on schedule for completion by the end of March. That is, assuming the weather cooperates.

Renovated living room
Renovated interior space of Linden Apartments.
Renovated kitchen
Updated kitchen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now the management team is focusing on spring and summer programs for the residents. Throughout the spring, new facilities will become available to the residents, including game and fitness rooms, a library, a computer lab and a solarium. There will even be a new salon opening in June, which will serve the general public, as well as residents.

Oh yeah. It snowed.

Looking up Park from Lafayette, which still had not been plowed as of Tuesday morning.
Looking up Park from Lafayette, which still had not been plowed as of Tuesday morning.

On January 23, Baltimore experienced its biggest snowstorm in recorded history: 29.5″ recorded at BWI Airport.

Bolton Hill resident Barbara Cates recorded a video on the morning of January 24, showing a Maryland National Guard Humvee getting stuck in the snow on Lafayette between Bolton and Park, which you can link to here:

MD National Guard getting stuck in snow

And here’s a photo of Bolton Hill residents getting together to dig out, from the Baltimore Sun. 

We are pleased to report that as of Wednesday, very few lawn chairs were in evidence on the street. Let’s all try to be good neighbors, help each other dig out, and respect the work everyone’s done to get things back to a working normal.

Bolton Hill Garden Club Winter Champagne Brunch: All that Glitters is Gold

This year’s winter champagne brunch at the Rawlings Conservatory in Druid Hill Park, hosted by the Bolton Hill Garden Club, brought club members to the airy reception room at the Conservatory on Saturday, January 16. This year’s theme was “All That Glitters Is Gold.” Members arrived in their brunch finery adorned with their favorite hat or fascinator and brought some delicious food to share.

Club members spent a lovely afternoon in the golden warmth of the delightful Rawlings Conservatory drinking bubbly served by BHGC Co-President Brian Causey. What better way to bring on old man winter?

Club member Coleen McCarty commented afterward, “It was as warm and welcoming as a winter trip to South Florida, without TSA screening.”

BHGC is always looking for new members to help make the neighborhood greener and more beautiful. Check out their website at www.boltonhillgardenclub.org for more information about how to join. 

 

A Duty to Serve: Samaritan Community’s Jim Larsen

Jim Volunteer
Jim Larsen, Samaritan Community volunteer

As an active member of the U.S. Coast Guard for more than 20 years, Samaritan Community volunteer Jim Larson has built a career on helping others. Whether it’s teaching law enforcement, directing port operations, or serving as a project manager, his work and leadership have always helped the Coast Guard help others. This commitment brought Jim to Samaritan Community as a weekly volunteer. He picks up and delivers the fresh produce, breads, and groceries provided to the Samaritan food pantry by Whole Foods, Mt. Washington.

“Having moved around several times during my Coast Guard career, I have always felt the duty to help out in our adopted communities,” says Jim, who came to Samaritan Community through the Jewish Volunteer Connection.

Jim is in good company. He is one of 45 other dedicated Samaritan Community volunteers who give their time and talents to help the 1,100 individuals and families the Bolton Hill nonprofit serves annually. And despite the large number of people his efforts help, his reason for volunteering is very personal. “Another reason I enjoy helping out at Samaritan Community is that I think it’s important that my kids see me helping our community. I hope that I can positively influence their sense of duty through my actions,” he says.

Whatever their reasons, Samaritan Community is deeply grateful to Jim and all of its volunteers for their work to support the organization and the community. More help is always needed, so If you would like to be involved, visit their website here or call 410-669-1229.

Yoyo

By Nell O’Hara

Rub together my hands,
Take a deep breath,
Watching me are all my friends,
Flash a smile.

YoyoUp goes my wrist,
Gently toss it down,
It plows through the mist,
It is almost there.

Jerk! A gentle swish,
It starts to climb its way up the string,
Catch! I did not miss,
In my palm… Flawless.

Clapping in the background,
I carefully take a bow,
I did it! I did it!
But it’s all over now.

February Events

Francis Scott Key MemorialHere’s a brief overview of some of the local happenings in February.

Go to the Bulletin Calendar for details and additional events–just click on an event to see more information.

Thursday, Feb. 4 and every Thursday – FREE Vinyasa Yoga classes at Parks & People’s new campus

Thursday, Feb. 4 and every Thursday – new evening prayer service, 5:30-6:15 pm, Brown Memorial Park Avenue Presbyterian Church

Friday, Feb. 5 – Midtown Academy Art Exhibit & Silent Auction

Wednesdays, Feb. 10 through March 23 – Ecumenical worship services at Brown Memorial Park Avenue Presbyterian Church

Wednesday, Feb. 17 – City Council candidates’ forum

Saturday, Feb. 20 – Merchants’ Benefit for Bolton Hill Nursery

Monday, Feb. 22 – Madison Park North Redevelopment meetings

Monday, Feb. 29 – State Senate Republican and Democratic debates