Join in the Fun at Festival 2017

Join the fall fun at the 64th Annual Festival on the Hill, Saturday, October 14, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The Festival will have its usual mix of music (including Mambo Combo!), food, entertainment, arts and crafts vendors, and a fun, interactive kids’ area. Organized by the Bolton Hill Nursery, everything takes place on the 1300 block of Bolton Street and the 200 block of Lanvale Street.

Last year’s Festival

The Gourmet Gazebo will be back this year, with over 25 savory and sweet treats including Chili Rellenos, mac and cheese, chocolate-covered cherries, bean soup, vegetarian piccadillo, and much more!

As usual, the Bolton Hill Garden Club will have bright, beautiful pansies and ornamental kale for sale at their usual spot on the corner of Bolton and Lafayette streets, starting early at 10 a.m. Not only do the plants beautify the neighborhood, but the Club also uses all the proceeds to support community greening projects.

Festival-on-the-Hill's Pie-in-the-Face contest
2016’s crowned winner and her runners-up

Plus there will be Festival T-shirts (organic cotton, of course) for sale, and the return of the Pie-in-the-Face contest.

Festival goers buy a bag of pompoms and “vote” for the person they would most like to see get a pie in the face. Past choices included our city councilman, a school principal, a rector and our favorite, a co-editor of a neighborhood newsletter. The lucky winner gets to be hit with their pie FIRST, but all the volunteer targets will be able to delight in having cream pie mashed in their face.

Remember, ALL the proceeds from the Festival go to support non-profits that serve the 21217 community. From receipts of the 2016 Festival, the Bolton Hill Nursery distributed grants ranging from $600–$800 to nine organizations: Midtown Academy, Soaring Eagles Learning Camp, Brown Memorial Tutoring Program, Memorial Episcopal Church, John St Park Association, Rutter Mill Park Association, Corpus Christi Church, and Mt. Royal Elementary and Middle School.

Come join the fun. See you there!

Great Pumpkin Party On Its Way October 28

On Saturday October 28 from 1-3 pm, everyone—especially kids from 1 to 92—is invited to The Great Pumpkin Party, organized by MRIA’s Social Task Force (SATF), in collaboration with Kappa Alpha Psi. The service fraternity has generously offered to host the event again at their Youth and Community Center, 1207 Eutaw Place.

There will be face painting, a costume swap, music, hijinks, and of course, pumpkin decorating. Best of all, everything is free, including the pumpkins!


Last year’s Pumpkin Party

Donations are needed to make the Party successful. If you’d like to help out, please drop off your supplies at 1500 Bolton Street, on the corner with Mosher. During business hours Monday-Friday, deliver to CPA Joe Palumbo’s office (front door on Bolton St.). Evenings and weekends, bring to Peter & Susan Van Buren’s (side door on Mosher St.), but call first to make sure they are home, 410-383-7820.

Party organizers can use all of the following:

  • gently used Halloween costumes
  • old sheets or clothes that can be used to make costumes
  • pumpkin-decorating supplies, such as stickers, markers, pipe cleaners, and glue (no knives or cutting will be involved)
  • decorations
  • and money for all the things that aren’t donated.

If you are interested in volunteering for the event, please email Jessica Wyatt at

In Brief

Update on b Bistro

Qayum and Pat Karzai told the Bulletin that contrary to rumors, they have never intended to close b permanently. Rather, it has closed temporarily to allow them to make some needed changes – a few repairs, installing new equipment, and developing a new food concept. 

Most importantly, they are recruiting new staff for both the kitchen and the front of the house to lead the reopening. They hope to create a revitalized spot that will be well received by the neighborhood.

Learn About the Francis Scott Key Monument

Much has been written about the vandalism of this landmark neighborhood monument on Eutaw Place. However, we encourage you to read Baltimore Heritage staff member Eli Pousson’s article with background on the monument’s history to gain a fuller perspective.

And, a neighbor who lives on Eutaw Place near the monument commented,

“I was sadden by the damage. And, I wish the persons expressing their feelings in this manner, could have engaged in dialogue about their feelings, and expressed their point or points about this historical figure in a less destructive manner.

Maybe they don’t know how, or feel they don’t have a seat at a discussion table or forum to express what they feel. I look forward to an opportunity to talk about a way forward.”

Book Donations for Festival on the Hill

Kristine Smets is looking for donations of gently used books and jigsaw puzzles for this year’s Festival on the Hill Book Table.  Contact her at for more information.  Donations will be accepted until Wednesday, October 11.

WANTED: Halloween Costumes

In preparation for the Great Pumpkin Party on October 28, the Social Action task force is looking for gently used Halloween costumes and old sheets or clothes that can be used to make costumes.

While you’re rounding those up, also see if you have any pumpkin-decorating supplies, like stickers, markers, pipe cleaners, and glue (no knives or cutting will be involved) or reusable Halloween decorations.

If you’d like to help out, please drop off your supplies at 1500 Bolton Street (at the corner with Mosher St.). During business hours Monday-Friday, you can deliver donations to CPA Joe Palumbo’s office. Evenings and weekends, bring to Peter & Susan Van Buren’s side door on Mosher Street, but call first to make sure they are home, 410-383-7820.

MRIA Website Redesign Underway

Under the leadership of MRIA President Linda Rittlemann, work has begun on the long-awaited redesign of MRIA’s website. Neighbor James Seeman has taken on the heavy lifting for the design and setup of the WordPress site, with assistance from tech adviser Brian Causey and Board Members David Nyweide and Peter Van Buren. 

The site will complement and integrate with the existing Bolton Hill Bulletin site. If you are interested in working on this project and being part of the communications team, please contact Linda at

The quality of a site’s images make it either appealing or ho-hum. The design team wants to feature shots of the neighborhood at its best in all seasons. If you have high-resolution photos that showcase Bolton Hill, please send email them as JPG files to

Look for the new site to launch in January 2018.You can visit the current website here.

Memorial Player's A Christmas CarolFall Drama: A Christmas Carol

Mark your calendar now for Memorial Players’ production of A Christmas Carol. Show dates are December 1–3 and 9–11 at Memorial Episcopal Church. Friday and Saturday performances are at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday performances are at 3:30 p.m.

For more information, visit their website or email

Councilman Costello’s Response About Oil Trains

In response to Andrew Hinz’s article in September’s Bulletin about the potential dangers of Oil Trains and the City Council amendment designed to reduce their threat, Councilman Eric Costello wrote this response:

“I have not had the time to fully review everything related to the train issue. I have had a preliminary conversation with Councilman Ed Reisinger, who confirmed he is co-sponsoring, but have not yet spoken with Councilman Mary Pat Clarke. I assure you that I will do my due diligence on this as soon as I have a chance.

At this time I am fully focused on a significant piece of legislation which I have been working on since December 2016 and that I am introducing at the next Council Meeting on September 11. It is critically important that I not only get this introduced, but that it is written perfectly so as to not require amendments. Each of the four pieces of policy related legislation that I have done since joining the Council to date have passed unanimously, and I certainly intend to keep it that way moving forward.”

Midtown Academy Earns High Test Scores

standardized testMidtown Academy students in grades 3-8 outperformed their City peers in all areas on the PARCC standardized test. Even more exciting, students outperformed their peers statewide in 8 out of the 12 areas, and in 7 out of the 12 areas compared with students across the whole country.

Historically, Midtown students have tested very well on City standardized tests. Executive Director Jennifer Devon thinks that this could be attributed “to a number of things, quality instruction through our experienced and tenured staff, comprehension of quality curriculum, or perhaps just the general interest our students have in wanting to learn.”

Soon after these scores were released, School Digger, a nationally known school ranking system, named The Midtown Academy’s middle school as the #1 Charter Middle school in Baltimore City, and second best in the City for all schools. The Elementary School ranked in 5th place among all City schools.

Congratulations to the students, staff, and families for their fine performance.

BGE Green Grant Funds School Community Greening Project

Drain StencilingBy Dick Williams

On the morning of Friday, October 6th, more than 30 elementary and middle school students from our neighborhood schools—Eutaw-Marshburn Elementary, Midtown Academy and Mount Royal Elementary/Middle—will participate in a unique community greening project.

Students will get hands-on experience about the value of healthy trees and helpful stormwater mitigation practices.

During the hour-long event, students will revitalize 10 sidewalk tree pits that have just been expanded by Memorial Episcopal Church. Each 3- or 4-student team will recondition the soil in their assigned pit with a mix of compost and top soil, plant liriope (a grass-like perennial), and top with mulch. The expanded tree pits, widened by 36% on average, will have a soil height 1” below the sidewalk level to help capture the maximum amount of stormwater.

They will also assist in stenciling nearby storm drains and learn how polluted stormwater runoff from sidewalks, streets and other impervious surfaces strains the city’s aging sewer pipes and treatment facilities. When these facilities break down, they contaminate our streams and the Chesapeake Bay.

Teachers will be on hand to reinforce in the field what they’ve been learning in class. Recent lessons have focused on how healthy trees sequester carbon dioxide and capture airborne pollutants while diminishing the urban “heat island” effect.

The Rev. Grey Maggiano of Memorial Episcopal will welcome everyone to the event. A BGE Green Grant, awarded to Memorial’s Creation Care Team In July 2017, is funding this creative and fun educational project.

Roll on Over to the Samaritan Toilet Paper Drive

Samaritan Community at Festival on the Hill
Samaritan Table at a Past Festival

Let the good times roll with Samaritan Community! Toilet paper rolls, that is.

At Festival on the Hill on Saturday, October 14, Samaritan Community will be holding a toilet paper drive to help clients with one of their greatest necessities.

This bathroom staple is one of the most requested items at Samaritan Community’s food pantry. So please bring a roll or an entire package (pre-packaged, please) to the Samaritan Community table.

Then, stay and get some hot coffee or some delicious baked goods, with the proceeds benefiting Samaritan Community.

A human services 501c(3) non-profit in Bolton Hill, Samaritan Community provides a food pantry, a clothes closet, individual empowerment counseling, group support, emergency financial assistance and much more. For more information, visit the Samaritan Community website or their Facebook page.

Be a Wisdom Warrior in Reservoir Hill

St. Francis Neighborhood Center youths
Some of the St. Francis participants

St. Francis Neighborhood Center in Reservoir Hill is seeking volunteers with a passion for teaching to join the Wisdom Warriors Power Project, their afterschool tutoring program.

For youth ages 5-14, the Power Project program runs Monday through Thursday, 3–6 p.m. Interested volunteers should contact

They also need volunteers and leaders for their monthly cleanups at German Park, a playground and park that surrounds the center on its north and east sides.

In partnership with the Reservoir Hill Improvement Council, they are hosting these cleanups on the last Saturday of every month from 11 a.m.–3 p.m. Leaders should have experience leading volunteers and be comfortable with large groups.

German Park Cleanup
German Park Cleanup

Anyone interested in volunteering should contact or for more information. 

For those wanting to learn more about St. Francis and our neighbors to the north, put the Reservoir Hill Fall Stoop Night on your calendar: October 13.

Bolton Square Celebrates 50th Anniversary

Bolton Square-interior
Green space and fountain inside the Bolton Square development, built in 1967. Photo by Eli Pousson, Baltimore Heritage.

by William Hamilton

The 50th anniversary celebration of Bolton Square will be held on Saturday, Oct. 7, from 1–6 p.m. Come celebrate our neighborhood and this great example of our neighborhood’s resilience.

Bolton Square’s mid-century modern townhouses and gardens will be open for tours from 1–4 p.m., followed by a ceremony and cocktail party on the common green area that faces West Lafayette Ave. between Eutaw and Bolton streets. Enter at 300 West Lafayette Ave.

Admission is $10; company and organizational sponsorships are available. The nationally recognized architect who designed Bolton Square, Hugh Newell Jacobsen, and the widow of Baltimore developer Stanley Panitz, who constructed the 35 units, will attend. Sponsors include Baltimore Heritage and the Maryland Chapter of the American Institute of Architects.

Bolton Square-ext
Mid-century modern in Bolton Hill. Bolton Square condo fronting Lafayette Ave.

Bolton Square is not just architecturally distinctive. It also plays an important part in our neighborhood’s history. 

In the aftermath of World War II, Bolton Hill was on the skids. Wealthy families who built the 19th-century mansions had given way to absentee landlords who cut them into rooming houses for workers in town to grab jobs in the war economy. Many houses were rundown, and others were abandoned.

The city assumed control of land between West Lafayette Avenue and McMechen Streets, just east of Eutaw Place, and considered knocking down decaying buildings and constructing large-scale public housing. The city hired consultants, including Connie Lieder, an urban economist who still lives in the neighborhood, to do an economic assessment. Her study concluded that there were promising signs of new life as people had begun buying and restoring the old houses. Based in part on that study, the city decided to hold an architectural competition and award a contract for the best design for new housing.

In 1964, Panitz and Jacobsen were awarded a contract to begin construction on the cleared city land, which included closing Linden Avenue to create a common, enclosed green space. The first segment was finished in 1967, and the developer moved his own large family into an end unit. Then came the assassination of Martin Luther King, rioting and white flight. Several Bolton Square units had to be rented because no buyers were interested. The builder persevered, however, and the units all eventually become owner occupied. A year or so later the Linden Green apartments, facing Bolton Square, were constructed, along with what is now the newly renovated Linden Park apartment tower on McMechen and the Sutton Place apartments on Park Ave. Urban renewal funds made it all possible.

Since that time, the neighborhood has regained much of its historic appeal and value. Bolton Square today, like Bolton Hill around it, is home to an intergenerational and interracial mix of professionals, business people and academics. Celebrate it! For further information, contact Monty Howard, Bolton Square Homeowners Association president, at 410-243-2902 or

Sign on to Bring a Grocery Store to Madison Park North

Could we see a grocery store on North Avenue?

The Neighborhood Coalition for Madison Park North Redevelopment reports that Berg Demo is close to completing the demolition of the Madison Park North site. The school records building was the last piece to come down.

The developers are preparing initial plans for the east side of the development (totaling 50,000 square feet and approximately 200 housing units), which will be presented at their next meeting on September 25 at 7 pm. Meeting location TBA.

However, a grocery store has yet to give a firm commitment to the project. The developers have asked the community to send letters to grocery stores encouraging them to sign onto the property. Stores to contact include Whole Cities Foundation (part of Whole Foods), Trader Joe’s/Aldi, Fresh Grocer, and Lidl, a German company that has committed to building in Baltimore City. The grocery stores need to fit within a 25,000-30,000 square foot space (approximately the size of Eddie’s in Mt. Vernon).

The Coalition is going to write up a letter template for the community to send to grocery stores of interest. A petition is circulating in the area, which people can sign at the next Coalition meeting. They are also looking for community members to identify what they want to see in a grocery store. Contact the Coalition at with ideas or if you are interested in volunteering in this effort.

Explosive Oil Trains Endanger Our Community

by Andrew Hinz

Bolton Hill is one of several Baltimore neighborhoods at risk from highly explosive crude oil trains. Bakken oil transported from North Dakota contains fracking chemicals and elevated levels of methane, making it more flammable than conventional oil.

Oil train derailment, Lynchburg, VA
A train carrying crude oil derailed while traveling at low speeds in Lynchburg, VA in April 2014, bursting into flames and dumping oil into the James River. Photo courtesy

Since the fracking boom began in 2008, the transport of crude oil by rail across North America has dramatically increased. A string of derailments has followed, including a July 6, 2013 disaster in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec that killed 47 people and destroyed 30 buildings. Rail infrastructure across the U.S., including in Baltimore, is under stress, increasing risk to those of us in the blast zone within a mile of the tracks.

In 2013 and 2014, more than 100 million gallons of crude oil were shipped by rail through Baltimore. Shipments of “unit trains” carrying 35 cars of crude oil have slowed since the price of oil dropped, but they could increase substantially if oil prices rebound. And it only takes one derailed tank car of Bakken crude oil to cause a fire and explosion. This volatile cargo also endangers infrastructure for general cargo and intermodal traffic, which bring more revenue and jobs to Baltimore and Maryland than bulk commodity shipments like crude oil.

Concerned officials at all levels of government are addressing this public health and safety issue. Maryland’s Attorney General has joined five other states in asking the federal government to limit the volatility of oil transported by rail. But it is uncertain whether federal authorities will act, making local action even more important. 

Thankfully, City Council members Mary Pat Clarke and Edward Reisinger are co-sponsoring a zoning amendment to prohibit new or expanded crude oil shipping infrastructure in Baltimore City. The amendment will grandfather the two terminals currently operating, one in Canton and the other in Fairfield. Maryland’s General Assembly will consider legislation in the 2018 legislative session requiring more transparency in reporting of crude-by-rail shipments, increased emergency preparedness, and proof of insurance from rail companies, similar to a bill just passed by the New Jersey legislature.

Councilman Eric Costello, who represents our neighborhood, is currently undecided on the bill. You can write him at to encourage him to support this important legislation.

The faster we move away from dangerous and polluting fossil fuel infrastructure like crude oil trains, the faster we can transition to job-creating clean energy projects like offshore wind and community solar.

If you’d like to find out more about the oil train issue, you can attend a screening and discussion of Bomb Trains: The Crude Gamble of Oil by Rail on Thursday, September 21, 6–8 pm at the First Unitarian Church of Baltimore at 12 West Franklin Street (use their Charles Street entrance to Parish Hall for the screening). This 23-minute film by Vice News outlines the use of defective DOT-111 oil tankers and the secrecy around rail oil shipments.

Park Café Is Back–Is Dooby’s On the Way?

by William Hamilton

The Park Café, which closed abruptly in July, is back in business with new owners. Meanwhile, Dooby’s Café—or something similar—may be coming to Bolton Hill soon. 

“We’re not quite ready to announce anything,” said Phil Han, who owns Dooby’s, a restaurant that serves Korean-tilted food for breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as Sugarvale, a small bar, both located in Mt. Vernon.

Discussions are underway for Han’s organization to take over the vacant Two Boots Pizza location on Mt. Royal Avenue adjacent to the Brass Tap pub and the Barnes & Noble bookstore. But neither Han nor Bolton Hill resident Monica Lavorgna, who manages retail space rentals for the Fitzgerald apartment building, would say when an announcement might be forthcoming.

Elsa Valdez and her brother Jorge Gonzalez are now at the helm of Park Café, which reopened on Aug. 9. Valdez was the chef when the café operated under other owners. The coffee, soup and sandwich venue keeps the same menu and community spirit that has made the place successful in the past. 

“We will operate the cafe as a family business, providing customers with the same great service and quality of food as always,” the new owners said. “Moving forward we will focus on the introduction of new menu items, including more house-made pastries, ethnically inspired dishes, and expanded catering.”

Helfenbein Elected to Board of No Boundaries Coalition

Rob Helfenbein
Newly elected NBC board member Rob Helfenbein.

At their most recent meeting, Bolton Hill neighbor Rob Helfenbein was elected to the board of No Boundaries Coalition. Several other Bolton Hill residents, including Rob, received Volunteer Awards for their work with the organization.

Of his award, Rob said, “I am humbled to be among a group of community folks who give much more of their time than me.” As a board member, he hopes to further their work on eliminating food deserts, ensuring the enforcing the Department of Justice consent decree with the Baltimore Police Department to reduce police brutality against citizens, and increasing voter registration in advance of the 2018 and 2020 elections.

He said he especially hopes to contribute to their youth initiatives and “bring conversations about Baltimore City Schools into the mix.” And of course, he hopes to continue working to break down the boundaries between neighborhoods like Sandtown/Upton and Bolton Hill.

“I could not be more impressed with this organization,” Helfenbein said. “No Boundaries Coalition is one of the most organized and well-run community organizations I’ve ever seen and their impact is only growing in the city.”

Jayne Chartrand's meeting notes
Notes from a recent NBC meeting taken by MICA grad Jayne Chartrand.

Michael Booth and Peter Van Buren also received awards, along with residents from neighborhoods throughout the 21217 zip code served by No Boundaries Coalition, for their work for the organization.

In recent weeks, NBC sponsored a Community Forum in partnership with Coppin State’s Criminal Justice and Urban Studies Departments on Thursday, July 6 and facilitated by NBC’s co-director, Ray Kelly, to get community feedback on the DOJ consent decree.

Kelly also was one of 100 community leaders invited to participate in the 6th annual conference of the National Association of Community and Restorative Justice in Oakland, CA in June, where he shared NBC’s efforts to transform the Criminal Justice system through education, advocacy and legislation. 

NBC also was asked by the National Organization of Retired State Troopers (NORST) and the Law Enforcement Action Partnership (LEAP) to participate in a precedent-setting panel discussion on June 29 on the responsibility of black police officers to their community.

NBC also recently celebrated the graduation of two founding youth members of the Baltimore Youth Organizing Project (BYOP). One has received a full scholarship to MICA, and the other will be attending Howard University. BYOP was pivotal in pressuring the Mayor into restoring after-school and community-school funding. BYOP was first to the name the 25% cut to in the Mayors preliminary budget and helped organize over 600 youth and concerned residents from across the city to attend a City Council meeting on June 7th.

As part of their work on eliminating food deserts, No Boundaries Coalition is happy to announce the reopening of Fresh at the Avenue (1700 Pennsylvania Avenue) on July 22, with a Grand Reopening Celebration slated for Saturday, July 29.

Please support this fresh food market in West Baltimore! And please contact the No Boundaries Coalition or attend a meeting to help be part of the solution to the myriad problems facing the city. With effective organizing, says Rob Helfenbein, No Boundaries Coalition is helping to create “an amazing, positive community.“ 

Crispus Attucks Rec Center Reopens

Mayor Pugh addressing the crowd at the reopening event
Kids and rec center employees work on craft projects while Mayor Pugh addresses the crowd at the reopening event

Expanded from a post at Promise Heights.

After being shut down for 5 years, the Crispus Attucks Recreation Center officially reopened to the public on June 22, 2017. Councilman Eric T. Costello, University of Maryland School of Social Work Dean Richard P. Barth and Mayor Catherine E. Pugh spoke at the reopening event.

Ever since the center was closed by Baltimore City Recreation and Parks, local neighborhood organizations have been lobbying to have it reopened, especially after the uprising following the death of Freddie Gray in 2015.

“Today would not be possible without the spirit of collaboration among the Department of Parks and Recreation, the University of Maryland School of Social Work, Promise Heights, community associations, and the families who called this neighborhood time and time again to come together, to be together, to work together,” Pugh said.

Kids enjoying the rec center

The recreation center is located behind Eutaw-Marshburn Elementary School and will be a site for the Baltimore City Recreation & Parks summer program, Camp Baltimore. In session from June 19 to August 25, the camp provides a full range of programing all summer long, including swimming, outdoor education, arts and crafts, academic enrichment, field trips, and other fun activities for neighborhood children.

The name of the rec center honors Crispus Attucks, a dockworker of Wampanoag and African descent who is believed to be the first person killed in the American Revolution at the Boston Massacre, March 5, 1770.

Park Café and Two Boots Close

Everyone knows the restaurant business is tough. Sadly, two neighborhood establishments have shut their doors.

After six years of serving Cajun-themed pizzas with names like the Hogwallop and The Dude, Two Boots pizza café on Mt. Royal Avenue quietly closed in April.

Then on Saturday, July 8, the Park Café & Coffee Bar served its last customers. Partners David Hart and Joe Costa explained that the decision to close did not come easily for them. Neighbors may worry that their closing was due to the multiple robberies which occurred this past winter, but they explained that changes in their personal priorities, rather than external forces, were involved. Over the last three years, operating the cafe has caused them to miss many birthdays and skip vacations. Now they can spend more time with family and friends.

“The café continues to do well financially and our level of service and the food produced remain excellent, which is why we feel now is the time to leave, while we’re on top of our game,” says David. “We are proud of what we have accomplished, and thankful for the tremendous support we received from the greater Bolton Hill community over the past three years. It has been our pleasure to serve you.”

Named for the boot-shaped peninsulas of Italy and Louisiana, The Two Boots restaurant chain started in New York City’s East Village in 1987 and spread to Los Angeles and several other states. Here in Baltimore, however, it apparently couldn’t compete with the dozens of shops in the city’s robust pizza scene. Two Boots was founded by Phil Hartman, a former Baltimore resident, and ex-wife Doris Kornish, and run by Hartman’s son, Leon. An earlier location at Power Plant Live closed earlier.
If you’ve ever wanted to run a pizza joint or a coffee bar, here’s your chance. Both properties are looking for new owner-operators. Those interested in Park Cafe should email Joe and David at or call (443) 509-3934. Since David and Joe own the building as well as the business, they have the latitude to be creative in their negotiations.

If Two Boots or pizza are more your scene, Bolton Hill resident Monica Lavorgna manages retail properties for The Bozzuto Group, which owns the Fitzgerald apartment building that houses the former Two Boots, along with The Brass Tap pub and Barnes & Noble bookstore. “We are in the process of working with the Segall Group to find a new tenant for the space and hope to have new tenant, most likely a food use, to announce sometime this summer,” Lavorgna said.

Boltonstock 2017 a Big Success


Photos by Alisha Wolf, Kendra Parlock and Peter Van Buren.

On a gorgeous June evening, children playing, smoking grills, rocking musicians and contented neighbors filled Arnold Sumpter Park at Boltonstock 2017

Organizers Chas Phillips and Jessica Wyatt did a fantastic job of pulling all the pieces together. They were assisted by an army of volunteers and neighborhood organizations, with special honors going to grillmaster Rob Helfenbein, Chris Whisted & Little Havana for supplying LOTS of beer, Jeff Dugan for all the sports equipment, Andrew Parlock (with major guidance from Chris) working the generator, Mare Consugar on concessions, Memorial Episcopal on baked goods, the Baltimore Community ToolBank for the constructable playground, chairs and tents, and Linda Rittelman on trash can duty. 

Here’s a drone’s eye view of the fun by Chas Phillips.


A great group of neighborhood organizations manned the community tables, including the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, Corpus Christi Church, Enoch Pratt Library, Food & Water Watch, Loving Arms, MRIA, Royal Theater and Community Heritage Corporation, St. Francis Neighborhood Center, Whitelock Community Farm, and Residence Row startup companies Moma Pops and Natural Energy.

Ideas are already circulating to make 2018’s festival even better.

Prepare for Fall Tree Planting

Three dead and dying trees on Mt. Royal at North Ave. (wall of Bolton North) are on the list for replacement despite having been planted only recently.

Ever wonder why Bolton Hill’s streets have more trees than most neighborhoods in Baltimore? It takes a lot of work—much of it done on a volunteer basis. To maintain our neighborhood’s current tree canopy, roughly 50 trees need to be planted each year.

George Lavdas has been planting and caring for trees in Bolton Hill for the past 25 years. Of late, he’s been joined by David Nyweide and other Bolton Hill residents.

These good folks are currently compiling a neighborhood tree census—something they do twice yearly— to identify locations with dead or dying trees, stumps that need to be ground out, and empty tree wells primed for planting.

David and George report the trees or stumps to be removed to the City so that the sites are ready in time for tree planting in spring and fall. Working with Caleb DeMario of the Midtown Community Benefits District, George and David order trees from the City and arrange planting dates with the Midtown greening crew.

The following 32 sites have been identified for preparation for new tree plantings this fall because they have empty tree wells, stumps that need to be removed, dead saplings, or dead or dying trees:

  • Maple Leaf Park, island between parking strips off Bolton and Robert
  • 2004 Eutaw (on either side of the address awning)
  • 2002 Eutaw
  • 2000 Eutaw at corner with Presstman and on Presstman
  • 1308 Eutaw
  • 1301 Eutaw, in median strip
  • 1300 Eutaw, by bus stop on south side of Lanvale
  • 1627 Park, in median strip
  • 1703 Park, in median strip
  • 1111 Park (at the end of Dolphin)
  • 1805 Bolton
  • 1824 Bolton
  • 1415 John
  • 206 Laurens
  • Mt. Royal, next to wall surrounding Bolton North parking lot (2 trees)
  • 301 McMechen
  • 300 block of McMechen in the median strips across from Save-A-Lot (3 stumps)
  • 300 block of McMechen, south side of the street
  • 122 W. Lafayette
  • 123 W. Lafayette
  • 100 block of W. Lafayette, along Corpus Christi Church
  • 123 W. Lanvale
  • 229 W. Lanvale
  • 120 W. Lanvale
  • 134 W. Lanvale
  • 103 W. Lanvale (near intersection with W. Mt. Royal, along granite wall)

Is there an empty tree well or dead tree or tree trunk in front of your house? Contribute to the census by sending an email to both David Nyweide ( and George Lavdas (

Volunteers are needed to help plant new and prune existing trees. The fall planting date will be announced in the Bulletin calendar—keep an eye out for it!

If you’re interested in becoming more involved with keeping the neighborhood canopy thick and healthy by planting and pruning trees, please contact George or David. George can also help answer any questions about what City Forestry can (or cannot do) and can put you in contact with private tree professionals, who (for a fee) can work with you to do the fertilizing and maintenance pruning of trees around your home.

Help Build Ana’s Garden

By Kendra Parlock

Longtime neighbor Marcia Ribeiro is hoping to build a garden in Bolton Hill. Ana’s Garden will be a tribute to Marcia’s mother, Ana, and a memorial for her love for Bolton Hill. Ana passed away from pancreatic cancer last fall.

Rendering of Ana's Garden
Landscape architect’s rendering of Ana’s Garden.

Ana decided to spend her retirement in Bolton Hill with Marcia and her husband Paul Silvestri after having worked as a nurse for 25 years. Many neighbors knew Ana from her walks in the dog park at the end of Mosher. She loved spending time there getting to know the people that passed through and the dogs that ran in the park.

Plan for Ana's Garden

Ana’s Garden will be a quiet, reflective space located at the dog park that will enable people to come together as a community during a time when many feel the need to come together more. The project and design was approved by Linden Park Building Management and the MRIA Architectural Review Committee. The space will feature seven trees of different varieties, nine boulders and four custom benches made of cypress, steel and concrete that will be inviting and architecturally interesting.

Bench designs
Bench designs for Ana’s Garden.

Fundraising began in March to cover all expenses as well as future maintenance and upkeep. So far Bolton Hill neighbors and friends of Ana have contributed approximately $7500 of the $22,000 that is needed.  Marcia is managing the project and has enlisted the help of a landscape designer, artist and fabricator in an organic process of creation and development. The first plantings are scheduled to be installed in October.

Please support the project by donating to Ana’s Garden on or dropping off a donation at 1422 Bolton St. You can honor the memory of a loved one in the garden with an engraved plaque that will be affixed to one of the nine boulders (available for a $300 donation). Plaques may be installed on on one of the two small benches for a $1200 donation or on one of the two large benches for a $2400 donation.

Please contact Marcia at (443)717-2200 or with questions and for more information. 

News In Brief

Bolton Square Turns 50Bolton Square Turns 50

Save the date: residents of Bolton Square—the townhouse development that faces West Lafayette Avenue and Mason and Jordon Streets—are planning a 50th anniversary celebration this fall for the afternoon of Saturday, October 7

Companies and organizations interested in sponsoring, and being promoted, at the autumn event should contact the president of the Bolton Square Homeowners Association, Monty Howard, at 410-243-2902, or

Self-Defense Classes

Midtown Baltimore, in conjunction with MRIA, MICA and other organizations, is offering self-defense classes designed to give you tips, tools and tricks that will help you feel safer and more confident. The classes are free for anyone who lives, works or goes to school in Midtown Baltimore. However, registration is required.

The first class was held on July 15, and sold out quickly. The next class will be August 12, 11 am-12:30 pm at Prince Grand Hall Lodge, 1307 Eutaw Place. Two more classes are scheduled at other locations for September 12 and October 18. Check the Bulletin Calendar for more information.

Get more details from their flier, and register online

Bolton Hill Nursery Awards Festival on the Hill Grants

Bolton Hill Nursery proudly announced the list of non-profits serving Bolton Hill and surrounding communities that were awarded grants from the profits of Festival on the Hill 2016.

With grants ranging from $600–$800, winners included Midtown Academy, Soaring Eagles Learning Camp, Brown Memorial Tutoring Program, Memorial Episcopal Church, John St. Park Association, Rutter Mill Park Association, Corpus Christi Church, and Mt. Royal Elementary/Middle School.

Festival On the Hill 2017 takes place Saturday, October 14, which will be here sooner than you think. Bolton Hill Nursery is seeking volunteers, sponsors, vendors, and of course, everyone to attend. Contact them at

Grocery Bag Volunteer Needed

Corpus Christi Church seeks a volunteer to help with their food program. The position involves a twice-per-month inventory and stocking of their food pantry’s shelves with canned goods. Please contact Beth at 410-615-7771 or if you are interested in helping out.

Job Opportunity: Communication Consultant

Corpus Christi is looking for an outgoing person to help welcome folks into their amazing community. By organizing social events, managing their social media, and building a team of parishioner volunteers, the consultant would creatively share the heart and soul of their parish. This part-time position has a one-year contract. 

For more information, please download the job description. To apply, send a letter of interest and your resumé to Father Marty at

SATF and NBC Updates: Parties, Cleanups, and Reopening of Fresh at the Avenue

Stoop Party for the Schools

Although May’s Stoop Party with a Purpose organized by MRIA’s Social Action Task Force (SATF) was cancelled due to weather, donations continued to be collected for three neighborhood schools. A total of $732 was donated by many generous neighbors and will be distributed to our neighborhood schools, Eutaw-Marshburn Elementary, Mt. Royal Elementary/Middle, and Midtown Academy.

Along with a check for $244, each school received 5 reams of copier paper. Ms. Elliot at Eutaw-Marshburn summed up the sentiment for all the schools saying, “The SATF is the best!”

This dumpster was empty before the start of the June 3rd Cleanup

My Block My Hood Cleanups

As always, No Boundary Coalition‘s (NBC) 10th annual Boundary Block Party on June 3 was a huge success. Before the party started, NBC’s safety committee kicked off the summer’s My Block My Hood program by partnering with the Nehemiah Homeowners to clean up the 1300 block of N. Stockton St. at Presstman St.

Members of the SATF joined the work crew, and together they rapidly filled a large dumpster with debris, satisfying everyone with the results.

More My Block My Hood cleanups are planned for Saturday, July 22 at Parrish & Riggs Sts., Saturday, August 5 at Druid Hill Ave., and Tuesday, August 8 at Legends Park, located at Laurens and Fremont. All volunteers are welcome. Tools, work gloves, and refreshments are provided.

The SATF plans to join the August 5 cleanup as a group, while the August 8 event will be a focus for Memorial Episcopal Church, as the site is close to a store run by some of their members.

Please consider joining in this effort. Many hands make light work.

Fresh staff and volunteers

Grand Reopening for Fresh at the Avenue

For the past few months, Fresh at The Avenue in the Pennsylvania Ave. marketplace has been closed for renovations, which include new display tables and much more.

NBC announced that the stall will have a soft reopening on Saturday, July 22 with the grand reopening celebration set for Saturday, July 29. The celebration will spill outdoors into the parking lot surrounding the market, with a jazz band, food vendors and more.

The store is open every Saturday from 9:30 am to 4:30 pm, and volunteers are always needed. If interested, contact Rebecca Nagle at

Rebels Rule at Ride for the Feast

Bolton Hill Rebels
The Bolton Hill Rebels With a Cause.

Bolton Hill had a strong showing in this year’s Ride for the Feast (RFTF) on May 13-14. Bolton Hillers participating in this annual fundraiser for Moveable Feast are members of Rebels With a Cause, the largest RFTF team with 77 registered riders.

The Ride’s official tag line is “2 Days. 140 Miles. 1 Cause.” That may have described the purpose of the event, but doesn’t come close to capturing the conditions on Day 1. During their 100-mile trek from Ocean City to Easton, riders faced torrential rains, 35 mph gusts and temperatures in the low 50s.

More than a few registered riders opted out due to the weather, while some of those who persevered were literally blown off their bikes. Nevertheless, over 300 riders rose to the challenge, supporting each other with camaraderie and much laughter through the long day. The hearty cheers and smiles from supporters at their six stops made the going easier.

Day 2 (Mother’s Day) erased almost all of the misery from the previous day. The weather was perfect, energy was high, and the riders completed the last 40 miles from Easton to Baltimore city on the Baltimore & Annapolis trail.

Ride for the Feast 4
The triumphant Rebels return to Baltimore.

After their triumphant entrance into the city, riders rode en masse through Baltimore to a mimosa- and beer-fueled party at the Maryland Science Center. From there, they completed the final leg with a police escort to the Moveable Feast offices in East Baltimore.

The event closed with speeches from the RFTF organizers, Moveable Feast clients, and Bolton Hill neighbor Peter Jackson, a Moveable Feast board member.

Joe Palumbo in his pink pony shirt

The Rebels with a Cause team led donations for the event, collecting over $150,000—enough to provide one hundred Moveable Feast clients with home-delivered, nutritious meals for an entire year. The event as a whole is expected to meet this year’s goal of $800,000.The Rebels honored team member Joe Palumbo, who led the team in donations and team spirit, with a special Rebels’ Pink Pony jersey.

Rider Kendra Parlock said, “As a first time rider, I knew the ride would be tough and to prepare for the worst. What I didn’t expect was the overwhelming support from friends, family and neighbors for this amazing cause. I am so proud of what we accomplished and I can’t wait to do it again!”

She also offered an alternative tag line for next year: “The Toughest Thing You’ll Do and Love.”

Bolton Hill Rebels included Steve Marker, Joe Palumbo, Andrew Parlock, Kendra Parlock, Michael Booth, Kristine Smets, Donna Hager, Debi Celnik, Kristin Seeberger, Abby Ferretti, and Peter Jackson. Neighbors Jon Kaplan and Susan Lawrence also served as guest bartenders at the ride’s finish on Sunday.