MRIA Votes in Opposition of Arena Plan for State Center

State Center rendering
Rendering of the proposed State Center complex at Howard and MLK.

Governor Hogan recently proposed the building of an arena at the State Center site as an alternative to the proposed development that is currently under litigation. At the March MRIA Board meeting, the MRIA Board voted unanimously to oppose the arena plan. 

John Kyle, Bolton Hill resident and president of the State Center Neighborhood Alliance, briefed everyone on the current status of the State Center redevelopment before the vote. 

After more than a decade of unprecedented community, state, and developer engagement, Governor Hogan led the state Board of Public Works to cancel all contracts last December and then sued the developer. The developer responded to the lawsuit in kind. This litigation will probably take two to three years to resolve.

Meanwhile, the governor decided to move ahead with a $30,000 task force to study the site as the location for an arena. Another study from several years ago already concluded that it was an unfavorable arena location. Moreover, representatives from the surrounding neighborhoods are not included on the task force.

Objections from nearby residents are detailed in a front-page story in the April 1 edition of the Sun, as well as through numerous op-eds and letters to the editor. Many elected officials support State Center redevelopment, including City Council President Jack Young, Councilman Costello, and Mayor Pugh. 

John highlighted some key consequences if State Center redevelopment does not proceed:

  • State employee jobs could be transferred to other areas of the state.
  • Abandoned State Center buildings could sit unoccupied indefinitely.
  • Private-sector jobs that would be created by the new development would no longer generate state tax revenue.
  • The full-service grocery, which had been a proposed use for the Armory building, would not be developed.
  • Proposed transit-oriented development would be scuttled.

The State Center Alliance is now trying to bring the administration and developer back to the table. MRIA has been a longtime supporter of State Center redevelopment plans, and following John’s updates, the MRIA Board voted unanimously to oppose an arena at the State Center site.

On March 20, Councilman Costello sponsored a resolution supporting the State Center Development, which was unanimously adopted by the City Council.

What You Can Do to Help State Center Redevelopment

Sign the petition. After all this time, folks may have lost sight of the good things that will come from redevelopment. As a reminder, project developers have launched an online petition that will enable West Baltimore voice its need for a full-service grocery store and desire for redevelopment of the State Center site. Sign the petition here.

Write, call, or email Governor Hogan to encourage him to restart negotiations and implement the plan. Remind him that the plan has been 10 years in the making and has the full support of the surrounding communities. Showing widespread support will apply more pressure for the State to return to the table.

For more information and to get involved, like the State Center Neighborhood Alliance Facebook page, visit the developer’s State Center website or follow @StateCenterLLC on Twitter

Eat a Chili Dinner to Send Kids to Camp This Summer

The MRIA Churches and Schools Committee will host its second annual Chili Dinner on Wednesday, April 19, 5-8 p.m. at Brown Memorial Presbyterian Church, located at the corner of Park Avenue and Lafayette. 

Come and enjoy delicious homemade chili (meat and vegetarian available), cornbread, a bake sale and raffle.  

Tickets are only $10 per person, but you are always welcome to give more. Children 12 and under are admitted free.  

This fundraiser supports Mount Royal Elementary/Middle School’s weeklong outdoor educational program that every spring sends all sixth grade students to Northbay Adventure Camp, an environmental science and character education program in Cecil County. Last year’s event generated over $3,500 for the trip. The goal this year is $5,000.

With this year’s school budget crisis, such efforts are particularly needed. Join the tasty fun and lend your support.

Parties and More Parties

Patricia Rice reading to the group

MRIA’s Social Action Task Force (SATF) hosted their fifth Party with a Purpose in February. The theme honored Black History Month with guests reading selections from their favorite black authors. The group then guessed, sometimes successfully, who the author was. 

The crowd of 60-70 attendees was deeply engaged with dozens of people taking the stage to read a quote. And they were generous too, donating a total of $1,065 that was split between two youth organizations, St. Francis Neighborhood Center and the Kids Safe Zone.

The event’s discussion area on Facebook has lots of photos, a cool little movie, and the text from many of the pieces that were read.

The SATF has already started planning two more events. First, the return of the Stoop Party with a Purpose set for Saturday, May 13, 11 am to 1 pm, at the Gazebo in the 1700 block of Linden Avenue (between Sav-a-Lot and Sumpter Park). In response to the city’s school budget crisis, the donations collected at this party will be shared between three neighborhood schools, Eutaw-Marshburn Elementary, Mt. Royal Elementary/Middle, and Midtown Academy.

At the end of the party, the group will continue the fun by walking together to join the Boundary Block Party at Upton Triangle. This was a huge success at last year’s Stoop Party and will be a great chance for the whole community to enjoy a spring day together.

Boltonstock 2017 arrives a short three weeks later, on Saturday, June 3 from 5 to 10 pm in Sumpter Park. The SATF is working with organizers Chas Phillips and Jessica Wyatt to make this year’s event bigger and better. Starting earlier and ending later, they plan a real festival with a variety of musical acts.

Volunteers are need to help with both of these events. If you’d like to get involved, come to the next SATF monthly meeting on Sunday, April 2, 5-6:30 pm at the carriage house of 1500 Bolton St. See the calendar item for details.

If you can’t make the meeting, but are interested in these SATF events, please contact Peter Van Buren about the Stoop Party, or Chas Phillips regarding Boltonstock,

Garden Club Greening Grant Applications Due May 1

A previously funded Greening Grant project.
A previously funded project.

The deadline for Bolton Hill Garden Club greening grant applications is May 1. The club’s Green Space Grants Program funds public space greening projects within Bolton Hill.

Applications are accepted via email or by mail. Don’t forget to include a “before” picture of your project and a budget. Also, please check out the Frequently Asked Questions for information on what types of public space projects the garden club can fund.

Click here for a grant application and more information. Questions may be sent to

Help make Bolton Hill greener! And don’t forget the club’s Spring Plant Sale on April 29.

Samaritan Program Director Sharon Krieger Celebrates 40 Years of Service

Sharon Krieger
Sharon Krieger welcomes all who enter Samaritan’s doors.

By Emily Reichart

In 1977, Sharon Krieger started volunteering at Memorial Episcopal Church’s food cupboard, under the direction of Rev. Barney Farnham. Since then, this humble food cupboard has evolved into The Samaritan Community, with Sharon at the helm. It currently serves approximately 1,100 people annually through its food pantry, clothing shop, individual counseling, group support, emergency financial assistance, and more.

While Samaritan has grown by leaps and bounds since its inception, it is still very much a small nonprofit. Sharon is the only full-time employee, joined by five part-time staff members and a team of about 45 volunteers. With an annual budget of about $300,000, funding comes from individuals, private foundations, businesses, faith-based organizations and fundraising events. Even with a small team and a small budget, a lot gets done. In fact, the people of Samaritan have a saying— “We’re a small organization with a big impact.”

Sharon has been able to accomplish all this over the past 40 years because of her love of people and through a tremendous amount of hard work. She works with clients from the early morning well into the night. 

“She is a warrior in the local battle against loneliness, uncertainty and despair,” says Paul Silvestri,
board president of The Samaritan Community. “There is no off time for Sharon. She is always working to help our members.”

In all of her work, Sharon focuses on the individual, the member, the human being who needs a little help. As she says, “each member becomes the program.” She in turn takes the time to build true relationships with them, learning their unique circumstances and personal stories.

“I am deeply grateful for Sharon’s love and support. She had faith in me even when I didn’t. She got me back on my feet and I am so thankful,” says one Samaritan member. “She is totally devoted … I love the way she keeps us together.”

As for Sharon? She just wants one thing: “I want people to know they are loved.”

Learn more about the Samaritan Community on their website.

Construction Update—Dolphin Building, Madison Park North, John Edgar Howard RC

Over the winter, major progress was made on various construction projects around the neighborhood.

Crews demolished the old Dolphin Building near the Mt. Royal light rail stop, and a new MICA building is rising in its place.

Dolphin after
MICA’s newest building at Dolphin and Mt. Royal takes shape.
Dolphin before
The Dolphin Building disappears, as the site is readied for a new MICA building.









To our north, demolition is well underway on the large Madison Park North site, that encompasses more than 3 full blocks between Linden and Park on the north side of North Avenue.

MPN before
View in February of the Madison Park North complex, from Bolton St. north across North Ave.
MPN after
The site’s new look on March 29.









The John Edgar Howard Recreation Center site is also being redeveloped, so the area under construction is even larger. The vacated center sits in the middle of the construction-site photo below. (click to enlarge)

Looking north from North Avenue near Eutaw, you can see most of the site.

Local Finds: Authentic Jerk Chicken at Vibes Jamaican Restaurant

Chicken on the grill at Vibes Jamaican Restaurant
Sidewalk grilling starts most mornings around 9:30-10.

By Peter Van Buren

The smell of chicken roasting over charcoal drew me in. I just had to find out how I could get some of that deliciousness.

The source was a barrel grill smoking away on the sidewalk, with Vibes Jamaican Restaurant’s head chef, Stephen Levy, ensuring perfection. He cooks up authentic charcoal-flamed jerk chicken that’s to die for.

Hailing from Mandeville, Jamaica, Stephen has years of experience. In fact, he’s got the medal to prove it, as winner of the Montego Bay Jerk Chicken Championship in 2000.

This is the real deal at great prices, with traditional sides like rice and peas, cabbage and plantains. A large dinner ($10.50) was more than I could finish, but the leftovers doubled the delight when I quickly polished them off for lunch the next day.

Vibes also has Jamaican country-style fried chicken, curried goat, and delicious simmer down chicken stew, as well as fish dishes and more. Whether dining in or ordering carryout or delivery, you’ll love it if you try it.

They cater too. In fact, Stephen put the idea in my head to have him cook for an upcoming family party. That is one itch that will need to be scratched.

Vibes Jamaican Restaurant, 2101 Maryland Ave. Open 11 a.m. – 9 p.m. Monday–Saturday, closed Sundays; 667-930-3530. Their menu and delivery/carry out options are available on Yelp.

The Bulletin’s Local Finds column highlights the great businesses and organizations within walking distance of our neighborhood. Please tell us what spots you think deserve coverage by leaving a comment. Even better, you could be the roving reporter who does the finding and writes the column. To volunteer, contact the editors at The Bulletin needs you!

An Note of Thanks from Park Café and Coffee Bar

Editors’ Note: Near the end of January, police arrested the man they suspect committed robberies in the neighborhood at the Park Café, as well as other nearby businesses. Charged with armed robbery and assault, his preliminary hearing was held on February 23.

Our State’s Attorney liaison Ashe Smith will monitor this case and keep the community informed so we can participate. We received this update from Café owner David Hart. 

The Park Café would like to thank the Baltimore City Police Department for the apprehension of the suspect who is believed to have robbed not only the cafe, but other area businesses.

While the process took longer than any of us—neighbors and police—would have liked, this person is now off the street.

Additionally, on behalf of our staff, we are grateful for the outpouring of concern, the many good wishes, and the continued patronage by our neighbors in Reservoir Hill and Sandtown Winchester, as well as the Bolton Hill community.

As a result of our experience, the Café no longer accepts cash. We are working on a process for selling gift cards using money orders and will unveil this to our customers shortly.

With gratitude, David Hart and Joseph Costa

Reminder: Renew Your Parking Permits

As we noted in our story published in last month’s Bulletin, all current residential parking permits will expire March 31. You may renew and pay for your permits online at the Parking Authority website.

Neighborhood Pickup Days take place at Brown Memorial Presbyterian Church on Lafayette and Park Ave., Saturday, March 18, from 8 am to 12 noon, and Saturday, March 25, from 8 am to 1:30 pm. Purchase your permits online at least three days before you plan to pick up. Enter at the Lafayette St. door.

You can also obtain your permits beginning on March 13 at the Parking Authority Office, 200 W. Lombard Street, Suite B, 21201.

The Parking Authority accepts credit cards, checks and money orders made out to the Director of Finance. Cash is not accepted.

Be sure you bring current documentation when picking up your permits, including 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
  • Official State ID card

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 or 443-573-2800, extensions 863, 845, or 851. You may also contact your Area 3 representative, Patsy Andrews, by email at

St. Francis Neighborhood Center Embarks on Major Capital Campaign

By Morganne Ruhnke, Development and Event Coordinator at St. Francis Neighborhood Center

Did you know that more than 1,200 children in the Reservoir Hill area live in poverty? St. Francis Neighborhood Center (SFNC) is responding to this need with educational and enrichment programs to uplift children and their families—making more than 40,000 individual contacts with Reservoir Hill residents every year.

Reservoir Hill kids on honor roll
Smiles of Success


SFNC is a community-based, non-profit organization committed to ending generational poverty through education, inspiring self-esteem, self-improvement, and strengthening connections to the community. It was founded in 1963 as an outreach center for two local churches, and is the oldest enrichment center of its kind in Baltimore City. SFNC founder Father Tom Composto was a Jesuit priest who moved into the facility in the 1960s. He stayed there for the remainder of his life, devoting himself to the poor.  

Father Tom, also known as the Pope of Whitelock Street, would stand at the corner of Whitelock and Linden and challenge drug dealers to do something better with their lives. After he passed away in 2010, SFNC Board and staff have carried on his passion and vision, with programs and projects that serve the community that Father Tom so dearly loved.

The Center offers a computer lab and a community library that is free of charge to the neighborhood. They offer adult literacy and job readiness programs. They hold community yoga sessions on Wednesday evenings, and Narcotics Anonymous meets there three evenings a week. Every Monday, friends from Corpus Christi Church distribute free groceries to anyone who lives in the 21217 area. Many other partner groups use the Center for their meetings and also provide services that benefit the community.

SFNC’s award-winning flagship programs for youth have received national recognition. The Power Project is a free after-school program, with fifty “prodigies”—youth—currently enrolled. The Summer of Service Excursion (SOSE) is held for eight weeks from 8:30 am to 5:30 pm during the summer months and is the longest running summer program in the City. SOSE participants focus on topics including education, art, STEM, and character building.

Ethan's poem
Poem describing the “St. Francis Way.”

Every summer, the Center coordinates with its many longstanding partners to host the day-long Reservoir Hill Resource Fair & Festival at the corner of Whitelock and Linden. The festival brings together this vibrant, diverse community and features a grocery and bookbag giveaway, food trucks, local art, and live music. Save the date for Saturday, August 5, 2017—and if you are interested in getting involved as a vendor, volunteer, or supporter, contact Morganne Ruhnke at

St. Francis Neighborhood Center
Consider donating so that even more children can join the fun

The Center is currently embarking on a major capital campaign, “Count on Me.” This community-driven campaign addresses the pressing need to serve more children. More than 30 kids are already on the waiting list for the youth programs, and with the merger of Westside Elementary and John Eager Howard School, the number of children in need will soon triple. We want them all to have a positive place to attend educational and enrichment activities after school and are excited about our plans for growth. To learn more, contact Angela Wheeler at

SFNC occupies a historic, four-story townhouse, and while we love our location, we are limited in our ability to serve more children and to provide programming to fulfill ever-evolving community needs. Our total goal is to raise $4 million in two years to add classrooms, an art studio, a kitchen/cafe, greening projects, multipurpose space, and expand our media lab and library. Once complete, we expect to serve more than 200 children in our education programs, an 100% increase in capacity.

We invite you to be a part of this transformational change. Can we count on you to join us in achieving this milestone for Reservoir Hill and West Baltimore?

How you can you help:

  • Donations of all sizes are greatly appreciated and help us get one step closer to serve more of the community.  To donate and learn more about the center check out our website at
  • We are always looking for people to host fundraisers, serve as mentors and tutors, and help us with special events and daily operations.  To get involved, please contact us at

Find out more on the St. Francis Neighborhood Center website.

Art and Hearts at Midtown Academy

Art auction and exhibition at Midtown Academy
The Art Auction and Exhibition at Midtown was well attended.

By Jennifer Devon, Executive Director of The Midtown Academy

Uniting Diverse Artists

The Midtown Academy kicked off the new year with a bang! The 3rd Annual Uniting Diverse Artists Art Auction and Exhibit raised over $43,000 for the school to support students and critical programming.

The large and wide-ranging show featured over 80 pieces of art from Midtown and Baltimore City student artists, as well as nationally recognized leaders in the art community.

We thank our artists and buyers for their generosity and commitment to our school, as well as our dedicated sponsors, guests and donors. Their support made this event a great success. View more photos of the fun.

Be the Heart Campaign

Spring brings our Be the Heart of Midtown campaign. Each grade is competing to bring in the most participation to raise money for programs and projects at Midtown.

You can make your donation to the Be the Heart campaign at

Donors can designate the grade they would like to support. The campaign will run from February 10–March 10, and the grade with the most participation wins a prize.

Ashley Day

Board Member Spotlight

The Midtown Academy is fortunate to have a number of amazing board members serving as leaders and advisors for our school.

This month our board member and alumni representative, Ashley Day, was featured as a High Achieving Millennial. Read more here.

Mt. Royal Middle School Students Headed to Europe

The beauty of Dublin

By Stacy Wells, Mt. Royal parent and PTO President

Trip to Europe

Help fund the travel experience of a lifetime for 23 middle school students as they journey to Dublin, London and Paris this summer on a European Study Tour.

Organized and led by social studies teacher Joseph Francella from June 26–July 5, each trip will cost $3,770 per student. A scholarship fund has been created, with a goal of $12,000 to provide assistance to students who need it.

Travelers can still be enrolled through March 7, and neighborhood families are welcome to join.

You can learn more about this program and help students get one step closer to Europe with a donation to the scholarship fund by visiting the scholarship fund website.

Thanks to Our Community Partner, Park Café and Coffee Bar

On the first Friday of every month, the Park Café & Coffee Bar sponsors our Golden Eagle Award Breakfast. At the breakfast, awards are given to students who show effort, achievement, generosity, leadership, excellence and safety.

Winners are invited to attend a breakfast at school with members of their family to celebrate their accomplishments. We are very lucky to have the support from this wonderful business located right in our own neighborhood.

Stay Informed

Mt. Royal is proud of our school and loves to share news with the community.

We’ve updated the school website, created a comprehensive Facebook page, and created a Monthly Newsletter (here’s February’s) highlighting student accomplishments and new initiatives at the school. Announcements and updates are also posted online here. Follow us!

Bolton Hill Architectural Terracotta Residency in Ceramics

Five national and international ceramic artists will participate in an innovative residency in the Ceramics department at the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA), in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Baltimore National Heritage Area.

The Bolton Hill Architectural Terracotta Residency in Ceramics seeks to create a dynamic relationship with the community for its development.

Bolton Hill residents are invited to submit photographs of historic architectural stones in or on their homes, along with stories or histories relevant to their home’s architecture. These will provide context for the artists’ consideration during the residency.

During the residency period of May 27 – June 17, artists will work collaboratively and individually on prototypes of contemporary architectural terracotta that align with the aesthetics of the neighborhood’s historic architecture.

Artists will explore innovation in design and motif through new technologies such as 3D scanning, computer-­aided design (CAD), and computer numerically controlled milling (CNC).

Please send photos and other submissions with your name to professor Mat Karas at with the subject heading “Bolton Hill Terracotta Project.”

You can also become a partner with MICA and the Bolton Hill ceramic residency by making a gift in support of the project at or by calling 410-225-4259.

Neighborhood History: Thomas Courtney Jenkins and Corpus Christi Memorial Church

Early etching of Corpus Christi Church

By Kristine Smets

Corpus Christi Church, at the corner of Mount Royal Avenue and West Lafayette Avenue, was built in memory of Thomas Courtney Jenkins, who would be celebrating his 215th birthday on March 19.

Jenkins was born in 1802, on the feast day of St. Joseph, the first son of William Jenkins (1767-1843), a successful businessman in Baltimore, and Ellen Willcox (1780-1816), of Delaware County, Pennsylvania.

After attending St. Mary’s College in Emmitsburg, some 50 miles northwest of Baltimore, he returned to the city and joined his father in the leather business. He was given an interest in the firm, but left six years later to establish the Poland and Jenkins firm with partner Poland Adams.

Jenkins became a prominent businessman and financier. He was one of the original organizers of the Parkersburg and Central Ohio Railroad, the Northern Central Railway, and the Atlantic Coast Line, and also organized the Merchants and Miners Transportation Company. 

In 1829, he married Louisa Carrell from Philadelphia, the youngest daughter of John Carrell (1758-1830) and Mary Judith Moore (1766-1817). Her brother, George Aloysius Carrell (1803-1868), later became the first bishop of Covington, Kentucky, and Louisa probably met her future husband in Emmittsburg through George, who was also a student at St. Mary’s College. Louisa attended Mother Seton’s School in the same town.  

The couple resided for many years at 608 North Calvert Street, in what was then called Waterloo Row. The family later moved to 721 St. Paul Street. Thomas and Louisa had 10 children, three of whom died in childhood; a son died during the Civil War.

Thomas and Louisa Jenkins were prominent figures in Baltimore’s Catholic community. Thomas was one of the first pew holders and oldest member of the Board of Trustees of the Baltimore Cathedral. They were engaged in many of the church’s charitable organizations. Thomas was an intimate friend of James Gibbons, Archbishop of Baltimore and later cardinal. They frequently hosted many of the prelates of the church at their home, especially during their attendance at the councils held in Baltimore. 

Thomas Courtney Jenkins

Thomas Jenkins passed away on Christmas Eve in 1881. His wife died a year later, but not before she had asked her five remaining adult children—George, Eliza, John, Ellen and Michael— to build a church in memory of their father. Eventually, they erected the church in honor of both their mother and father. 

It so happened that as the Jenkins children sought to build a church for their parents, Archbishop Spalding was hoping to establish a new parish, Corpus Christi, in the Bolton Depot area. He had already built a combination church/school in the area—a common practice at the time—and the congregation met in an improvised chapel on the top floor of the school until a permanent church could be erected.

Until that time, the Jenkins family had worshipped at the downtown cathedral, and had no official ties to the Bolton Depot area. Nevertheless, they were easily persuaded by the Archdiocese to construct their memorial church here. At the time, Mount Royal Avenue was one of the most beautiful and important boulevards of the rapidly expanding city. Perhaps they were also inspired by Isabella Brown, who had donated $150,000 ten years earlier to construct Brown Memorial Presbyterian Church in memory of her husband George Brown (son of Alex Brown, founder of the first investment banking firm in the U.S.), in the new, trendy neighborhood of Bolton Hill.

Ground was broken on March 17, 1885, and thirteen months later, the cornerstone of the new church was laid at the corner of Oliver Street (now Mount Royal Avenue) and Townsend Street (now Lafayette Avenue). On December 12, 1890, the remains of Thomas Courtenay Jenkins and his wife Louisa Carrell, were transferred to the crypt in the St. Joseph Chapel in the church. Corpus Christi was consecrated on January 1, 1891.

Further reading: Sources for this article include Requiescat in pace: A History of Corpus Christi-Jenkins Memorial Church (1973) by Frances Meginnis and Thomas Jenkins of Maryland, 1670: His Descendants and Allied Families, compiled by Edward Felix Jenkins (1985).

Kristine’s company Chainlines, which specializes in genealogical and historical research, is a Bulletin sponsor. Find out more about her services in this related article in this issue.

Planning Begins for Boltonstock ’17

Planning has started for Boltonstock ’17, and the date has been set: the evening of Saturday, June 3 in Arnold Sumpter Park at Jordan and Laurens Streets.

Boltonstock is the latest incarnation of the Bolton Hill Band Concert, and will again feature delicious food and drink, community engagement, and an all-new lineup of local live music.

Boltonstock '16
Boltonstock ’16 was a BLAST.

With planning in the early stages, why not be part of the process? Planning and logistics meetings will be scheduled in April and May.

The organizers need volunteers to cook, sell food and drink, publicize the event, set up on the day of the festival and clean up afterward. 

If you’d like to lend a hand, email Chas at You can also support the event by becoming an event sponsor. Sponsorships start at $100 and can be purchased by businesses, organizations or individuals. Contact Chas for details.

Most of all, save the date of June 3 for BoltonStock ’17, and kick off the summer with an evening full of fun with neighbors and friends!

Help Trees Help Us

This tree says, “Help! Get me out of this tiny tree pit!”

by Sarah Lord, Baltimore City Forestry Board

Spring is the season to rededicate ourselves to one of Bolton Hill’s best features: our trees.

Our city is underpopulated by trees. Although the City is working hard to reverse these numbers, only 27% of our city is under the tree canopy, well below the desirable goal of 40%.

Our neighborhood is better off than most, but let’s not rest on our laurels (no pun intended).

Get involved with annual neighborhood tree events by joining neighbors for Tree Pruning on Saturday, March 18 and Tree Planting on Saturday, April 15.

If you’re a do-it-yourself type, you can adopt a tree pit to help our neighborhood trees thrive.

Studies have shown that tree pits should be 4′ x 8’ or larger, allowing trees to grow to maturity and cool not just pavement, but rooftops where possible. Many of our older tree pits are much smaller, resulting in cramped, less healthy trees. If your tree pit is too small, hire a contractor to make yours longer and wider if necessary. 

The ideal tree pit has no fencing around it, not even bricks, so that rainwater runoff can flow into the tree wells rather than bypassing them. The soil or mulch in these pits should be just below the pavement grade. When properly graded, you can watch with delight when rainwater flows into the pits to be soaked up by tree roots, nourishing the tree while diminishing storm water runoff into the Chesapeake Bay.

Or, plant a new shade tree, being sure to leave the trunk flare at its base above the soil line. It’s not a flagpole, so don’t plant it too deep and kill it. Never heap soil or mulch against the tree trunk, and remember to keep the soil level a tad lower than the surrounding sidewalk.

Most of all, help our street trees by watering all the tree pits your hose can reach once the hot dry days of summer are upon us. Do it about once a week, if we have not had a good rain. If conditions have been dry, watering in the fall can be critical to a tree’s survival over winter.

Need advice on how properly to plant, trim, or care for trees? Contact Bolton Hill tree expert Sarah Lord at or check out fun, free TreeKeepers classes.

Time to Renew Parking Permits

All current residential parking permits will expire March 31. You may renew and pay for your permits online at the Parking Authority website beginning February 20. Residents who are new to an RPP area must apply for permits in person. More information about residential parking permits is available here.

Permits and visitors passes are $20 each.

Purchase your permits online at least three days before you plan to pick up. Bolton Hill has scheduled two Neighborhood Pickup Days, Saturday, March 18, from 8 am to 12 noon, and Saturday, March 25, from 8 am to 1:30 pm, at Brown Memorial Presbyterian Church on Lafayette and Park Ave. Enter at the Lafayette St. door.

You can also obtain your permits at the Parking Authority Office, 200 W. Lombard Street, Suite B, 21201. Office hours are 8 am–5 pm, Monday through Friday. Plus, the office will be open for one Saturday, March 18 from 9 am to 1 pm, and open late one night, Thursday, March 30 until 8 pm.

TIP: 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
  • Official State ID card

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 or 443-573-2800, extensions 863, 845, or 851. You may also contact your Area 3 representative, Patsy Andrews, by email at

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

Samaritan Community Welcomes New Co-Program Director

After more than 20 years as a successful attorney, Linda Boyd, Samaritan Community’s new Co-Program Director, felt she wanted to do something else in her life.

Linda knew what that “something else” was. She had volunteered at many local organizations over the years, including Samaritan Community, and knew that she simply wanted to help people. That desire led her to be ordained as a deacon in the Episcopal Church.

When she first started volunteering at Samaritan as part of her social ministry training, Linda worked directly with Samaritan Community members. And she was immediately excited about what she experienced. 

“I had never been part of such a dynamic group before,” she said. “Members are well served in a dignified, respectful manner. The feeling is more like a team effort of all those involved, rather than one group of people being served by another.”

Linda started in her new position this past fall. She is involved in all aspects of Samaritan’s work. She works closely with programming staff to facilitate individual and group empowerment counseling, crisis intervention, and case management. She also creates educational and inspirational activities for support groups and helps oversee a team of more than 45 volunteers.

“She knows us, understands who we are, and has the right knowledge and experience for the job. And with her kindness, patience, and deep desire to help others, this is a really great fit for us,” says Sharon Krieger, Program Director at Samaritan Community.

For more information, visit the Samaritan Community website, and like their Facebook page.

Bolton Hill Nursery Seeks Applications for Festival Grants

Dancing in the rain to Mambo Combo.

In spite of the rainy weather that met last fall’s Festival on the Hill the festival made a profit.

Festival funds are shared between the main organizer, Bolton Hill Nursery, and 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, March 10. Grants are awarded to special projects that either wouldn’t happen at all or would be greatly diminished without the funds. Grants are awarded May 1; the maximum award is $1,000.

Grant application information and further details are available on the Bolton Hill Nursery site.

Past recipients include Corpus Christi Church, Dance Happens, Mt. Royal PTO, the Mt. Royal School Garden, the Memorial Episcopal Rectory Teaching garden, Samaritan Community, Rutter Mill Park Association, Midtown Academy, and the Brown Memorial Tutoring program.

Pamper Yourself at the New Bolton Hill Salon

The beautiful new Bolton Hill Salon just opened on the first floor of the recently renovated Linden Park Apartments (301 McMechen Street.)

Floor-to-ceiling windows fill the space with warm natural light. “The salon is absolutely gorgeous,” said manager Lisa Gerhardt. 

Open to the public, the salon offers top quality services for women and men, including cuts and sets, haircuts, perms, hair coloring, highlights, relaxers, facial waxing, manicures and pedicures. Their store also stocks a fine selection of quality hair and nail care products.

Stylist Michael Brian Richardson, a longtime resident of the neighborhood, brings more than 30 years of experience to Bolton Hill Salon. Lisa tells us that Michael is an expert on traditional styles, as well as keeping abreast on all the latest techniques and trends in hair and fashion. Utilizing his background in art and jewelry design, Michael creates customized color and precision haircuts and styles that will make you look and feel great.

For more information or to schedule an appointment, call 410-575-3540, or visit their website

Mention that you read about the Salon in the Bolton Hill Bulletin and get 20% off your first visit.