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A New Canvas For Baltimore: Southwest Partnership Working to Expand Traci Atkins Park, Make Way for New Growth

With $350,000 in Project C.O.R.E. funds, Southwest Partnership, a nonprofit serving seven Baltimore City neighborhoods, will soon begin work on demolition of blighted properties in southwest Baltimore. This will allow more recreational space for city residents, and will clear new parcels for future development.

The three areas this project focuses on are in Hollins and Mount Clare. The Hollins sites, which are the 1200 block of Hollins Street and 1100 block of W. Baltimore Street, will create development parcels for new construction mixed use buildings. In the New Southwest/Mount Clare neighborhood, the demolition of the blighted properties will allow for an expansion of Traci Atkins community park.

This project came about through community meetings that allowed those living in the area to voice their concerns, thus creating a project tailored specifically to the needs they identified. Community members participating in these planning sessions identified vacant houses as detrimental to the quality of life in the neighborhood. The consultants brought in through the planning process emphasized the role that groupings of vacant houses did present a liability, but were simultaneously an asset, as some of the vacant houses also provide development opportunities.

Once completed, Southwest Partnership expects these changes to the area will attract more people to the neighborhoods, both to live and play. By demolishing the vacant houses abutting the park and expanding it, its recreational uses and capacity will increase. This also serves to remove dangerous buildings and illegal dumping. The removal of these properties will make the area more attractive for prospective tenants while also enhancing the quality of life for its current residents.

“A New Canvas for Baltimore” is a regular series covering Project C.O.R.E. (Creating Opportunities for Renewal and Enterprise). Project C.O.R.E. will clear the way for new green space, new affordable and mixed use housing, and new opportunities for small business owners in Baltimore City. The initiative will generate jobs, strengthen the partnership between the City of Baltimore and the State of Maryland and lead to safer, healthier and more attractive communities. For more information on Project C.O.R.E., visit http://dhcd.maryland.gov/ProjectCORE/