Positive Change Task Force

Heart hand symbolIn response to our neighborhood’s desire to make a positive difference in our city after the riots, MRIA has charged a small task force with finding one goal that’s doable within one year and achieving it. The task force will provide an interim report to the MRIA executive committee on or before August 1 and will report to the full Board on or before September 1 about the prospects and opportunities for long-term change. As head of this task force, Andrew Parlock writes,

“In the aftermath following the late April protests and unrest in Baltimore, many of us were left asking, ‘What can we do to help? To make a change?’ I personally was left with the question, ‘What can I do tomorrow that can make a real change for the better in Baltimore?’

To that end, a group of neighbors have organized a small task force to see what we can do to affect a positive change, not just in Bolton Hill, but in our surrounding communities and Baltimore. I have taken on the role of leading this group and organizing our meetings. Our charter is simple: develop a couple of good, high-impact ideas and the outlines to implement these ideas. We are not going to be a ‘boil the ocean’ group, but rather a short-lived, hopefully high-impact, group to organize ideas, decide on a goal, and mobilize resources.

At our first meeting, we generated and discussed a slew of great ideas for real positive change, and the second meeting is set for June 25. Additional hands are always needed, and everyone is invited to get involved.” Email Andrew Parlock at andrew.j.parlock@comcast.net.

State Center Update

State Center Project OverviewCaroline Moore from Ekistics, a development company involved with State Center, provided a history of this public-private venture. Projected to generate an additional $6 million in tax revenue, this privately financed project has the full support of MRIA, the State Center Neighborhood Alliance, and other neighborhood groups.

The project has already jumped many hurdles, most recently winning approval for leases and for PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes), but then the governorship change halted progress. Since some State funds are involved, Governor Hogan is currently reviewing the project. With the wonderful showing of community support at May’s Block Party providing a positive sign to investors, perhaps the Governor will be favorably swayed.

In addition to the previously reported interest in the Armory location by several large grocers, Midtown Academy Charter School is also reportedly interested in relocating to one of the development’s buildings.

Mt. Royal Avenue Streetscape Project

Mount Royal BikingAt June’s Board Meeting, Caitlin Doolin, bicycle pedestrian coordinator at the City Department of Transportation (DOT) provided an update on the Mt. Royal Avenue streetscape project, that will resurface, recurb, and install a bicycle lane, plus provide aesthetic signaling and metered parking from Guilford to McMechen Streets.

This federally-funded, state-approved project has been in the final design phase for more than a year. Construction is slated to start March 2016 with a projected 265-business day work period. When asked that MRIA receive at least 30 days’ notice before work starts, Veronica McBeth, transit bureau chief at the City DOT, said the DOT will strive to give more advance notice.

John Kyle asked about the streetscape project comments MRIA sent to DOT in May 2014 that have never received a response. Doolin explained that much of MRIA’s input has been incorporated into final tweaks to the project before state approval. As follow up, she will send MRIA via Steve Howard the DOT’s comments and responses, plus a timeline of meetings.

Though the current plan does not address the cracked and disjointed sidewalks on West Mt. Royal, MRIA voiced its desire to work with the City to have this sidewalk resurfaced for pedestrian safety.

Festival Grants Awarded

Festival on the HillUsing proceeds from last fall’s Festival on the Hill, Bolton Hill Nursery has awarded grants to the following organizations for projects that benefit the neighborhood: Wilson-Mason Alley Gating & Greening, Corpus Christi Church, Midtown Academy, Mt. Royal Elementary/Middle School, Rutter Mill Park Association, and the Bolton Swim & Tennis Barracudas.

The grants come with a big thanks to these associations for serving our community.

Mark your calendars for this fall’s Festival-on-the-Hill, October 10, and be ready to volunteer!

Revamped Band Concert a Big Success

Caleb Stine GroupOn June 6, hundreds of neighbors convened in Arnold Sumpter Park for BoltonStock, this year’s new version of the neighborhood’s traditional summer band concert.

On an absolutely perfect evening, the sweet sounds of Caleb Stine & the Golden Eagles filled the park and got both kids and adults dancing. The hard working band played continuously from 6 to 9 p.m., with only one 15-minute break, while attendees enjoyed grilled burgers and hot dogs, baked goods, beer, and wine.

Under the excellent leadership of Chas Phillips and Victoria Lebron, the evening flowed easily, and many volunteers made light work of all the set-up, booth sales, and clean-up. A big thanks to everyone that helped kick off this new tradition in such a fine fashion. Now we have a whole year to plan how we can make the second annual BoltonStock even better!

CAKE

By Nell O’Hara

IBirthday cake can’t distract my eyes,
From the cake over there,
It was supposed to be a surprise,
But do you think I care?

It’s pink, frilly icing,
Three stories tall,
I can’t wait ‘till the slicing,
The treat just seems to call.

Mother sees me staring,
Amusement on her face,
With the smile she is wearing,
She asks, “Would you like some cake?”