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A New Canvas for Baltimore: Social Clubs Hold Keys to City’s Past and Future

February is Black History Month, and Baltimore’s past is rich in contributions from the black community. As time has passed, some buildings that harbor important parts of Baltimore’s black culture and history have fallen into disrepair and disuse. With a recent award from the state, two of these properties will soon be restored to their former glory.

The Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development awarded $325,000 in Project C.O.R.E. funding to the Druid Heights Community Development Corporation, a West Baltimore-based nonprofit organization, for building repairs to the Arch Social Club and Sphinx Club. Both properties, located along Pennsylvania Avenue, represent important parts of the history of the city’s black population. The establishments date back to when the city was still heavily segregated, and serve as reminders of how far Baltimore’s black community has come.

While the Arch Social Club is still in use, the Sphinx Club has been closed since 1992. In its heyday, the Sphinx Club, established in 1946, was a members-only venue that attracted well-known black entertainers like Sam Cooke and Redd Foxx for performances. The club sat on a strip known as The Avenue, a length of Pennsylvania Avenue famous for its nightlife that catered to the city’s black population. When renovations are complete, the club will help bring stability to an area of Baltimore heavily affected during the civil unrest in 2015.

The Arch Social Club was established in 1905, and has long been a cultural anchor in Baltimore. Despite only offering membership to a select few, the club regularly opens its doors to city residents for social events. During the civil unrest of 2015, its members offered food, water and use of its restrooms to anyone in need. A mens-only club, the Arch Social Club has seen a decline in its membership over the years as the state of the neighborhood has worsened.

The buildings will be stabilized and renovated, with more intensive work needed for the Sphinx Club; the Arch Social Club will have repairs made to its roof, along with other small internal fixes. The Druid Heights CDC expects all work to be completed in 2018, with work on the Sphinx Club concluding later this year. When complete, they will serve as places for families from Baltimore and beyond to come and enjoy live entertainment, healthy food and other cultural offerings.

“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/.



Governor Larry Hogan Attends Project C.O.R.E. Demolition in Baltimore City

Governor Larry Hogan Attends Project C.O.R.E. Demolition in Baltimore City

Blight Removal on N. Chester Street Sets Stage for New Housing, Businesses and Community Center

BALTIMORE, Md.(February 10, 2017) – Governor Larry Hogan today joined Baltimore City Mayor Catherine E. Pugh; Baltimore City Council President Bernard C. “Jack” Young; Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development Secretary Kenneth C. Holt; Dr. Donte L. Hickman, Sr., Pastor of Southern Baptist Church; and Baltimore City officials and community stakeholders to conduct a demolition marking the latest phase of Project C.O.R.E.’s blight removal on N. Chester Street in Baltimore City. Project C.O.R.E., or Creating Opportunities for Renewal and Enterprise, is a multi-year, city-state partnership to demolish vacant and derelict buildings in Baltimore and replace them with green space or to create the foundation for development.

“Project C.O.R.E. is truly helping us ensure that Baltimore’s future is better and brighter than its present or past,” said Governor Hogan. “I want to thank all the community organizations, neighborhood associations, and other local stakeholders who are working collaboratively with us to support this transformational revitalization. Today, we are taking yet another step forward and proving that our partnerships and our approach are truly working.”

“Thanks to Project C.O.R.E. funding and our partnership with the state, we can eliminate blighted city blocks in Baltimore and clear the way for future development and productive use,” said Mayor Catherine E. Pugh. “The whole block demolition and site assembly on N. Chester Street is part of a community plan that will support the revitalization efforts currently underway in Broadway East.”

The blight on the 1700 block of N. Chester Street sits less than two blocks from Southern Baptist Church and the Mary Harvin Transformation Center, an affordable senior housing and community center project that was rebuilt after the nearly-completed project was destroyed during the Baltimore civil unrest in 2015. That project, which held its ribbon cutting ceremony in April 2016, was supported with tax credits administered by the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development.

The N. Chester Street blight removal is “just another mark of progress for the community,” said Pastor Hickman.

The demolition is managed by the Maryland Stadium Authority, which has been overseeing Project C.O.R.E. blight removal activities across the city since last year. The Authority has implemented dust suppression and environmental standards that could be used as a national model for urban blight control.

For more information about Project C.O.R.E., including maps and applicable state programs, visit: http://dhcd.maryland.gov/ProjectCORE.

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CONTACT: Sara Luell, Director of Communications, sara.luell@maryland.gov, 301-429-7803



Century-old Baltimore Business Gets Facelift

The Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development’s Storefront Improvement Program is focused on ensuring the physical health of Baltimore’s commercial districts. For one project in southwest Baltimore, this means improving the façade of an institution aimed at ensuring the health and well-being of Baltimore’s residents. Westside Pharmacy and Wellness Center at 2021 West Pratt Street is an important institution in the underserved Carrollton Ridge neighborhood, serving as both a pharmacy and as a small store for various health and wellness needs. The 97-year-old building stands at the heart of a corridor with numerous stores and restaurants, and saw significant damage during the civil unrest that hit the city in 2015.

Thanks to the conceptual architectural renderings provided by Tomato Design Studio, LLC and the Civic Works YouthBuild Initiative, the storefront at the corner of West Pratt and Harmison Streets received a major facelift, improving the curb appeal along one of the busy roads leading into downtown Baltimore. The flaking paint and deteriorated awning on the front of the building were replaced, allowing the business to stand out better on the block. Lighting was also added to help illuminate the entryway. The concrete step at the entrance to the pharmacy was replaced and a grab bar was added to help elderly and disabled patrons access the store.  The security grate that protects the store entrance when it is closed was repainted to help the business beautify the neighborhood even when the pharmacy isn’t open.

For the repair and maintenance work required for this project, the state partnered with Civic Works, a Baltimore-based nonprofit focused on strengthening Baltimore’s communities through education, skills development, and community service. Through their YouthBuild program, Civic Works provides opportunities to Baltimore City youth aged 17 to 24 to learn skills in the construction field by working on projects like the one at Westside Pharmacy and Wellness Center. The program also provides assistance for its participants to earn a GED or high school diploma, as well as help with job placement.

All architectural design services are coordinated by the Neighborhood Design Center in collaboration with American Institute of Architects Baltimore Chapter and Baltimore Heritage.

This is one of several projects being undertaken citywide as part of the Maryland Business Recovery Storefront Improvement Program, including past, current, and upcoming projects in the Waverly, Upton, Highlandtown and Hollins Market neighborhoods of Baltimore. The program, funded by Governor Larry Hogan and his approval of a $650,000 allocation from the Rainy Day Fund, assists businesses throughout Baltimore with grants to update their façades, which improve the small business climate as well as the overall aesthetics of the city. The grants are generally $10,000, with an option to extend investment even further with a one-to-one match of state funds to those contributed by property owners or another funding source.



Frostburg a Frontrunner for Small Business Revolution Makeover

Frostburg, a Main Street Maryland community in Allegany County, stands to win a $500,000 Main Street Makeover and a featured spot in a Hulu documentary series from Small Business Revolution on Main Street, sponsored by Deluxe Corporation, a small business growth and resource center. Frostburg was selected as one of eight semi-finalists out of nearly 14,000 applicants in fall 2016.

If selected, Deluxe Corporation’s Amanda Brinkman, entrepreneur Robert Herjavec from ABC’s show Shark Tank, and Deluxe’s professional marketing team will select six small businesses within the downtown district to offer services and materials for branding, marketing, and accounting to give small business owners the tools they need to succeed. In addition to these services, Deluxe will work with City leaders to select public improvement projects within the downtown to spruce it up. The Small Business Revolution’s journey in Frostburg will be documented in an eight episode documentary series available on Hulu and on their website.  
The top five finalists will be announced on February 9.  From there, voting will be open until February 16. Vote once a day per device and per browser at smallbusinessrevolution.org.To learn more about how Frostburg has made it this far in the contest, visit their Q & A page at http://www.downtownfrostburg.com/people/smallbusinessrevolution/. Follow their Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages for updates on the contest. Contact FrostburgFirst at 301-689-6900 with voting questions.



A New Canvas for Baltimore: Le Mondo Takes Center Stage in Downtown Baltimore

The arts are a vital part of any city’s cultural scene. Having a space for both budding and experienced artists to hone their craft is critical for many creators who may have limited access otherwise. Le Mondo in downtown Baltimore was selected as one of the 30 recipients of nearly $16 million in funding from the first round of FY17 Project C.O.R.E. funding.

The Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development has awarded Le Mondo $300,000 for the acquisition and renovation of the former Strand Theatre and Uniform City buildings, located on 404-406 N. Howard Street, and the renovation of 408-412 N. Howard. The department also awarded Le Mondo $75,000 of FY17 Community Legacy funding in October 2016.

Located in the Bromo arts district in downtown Baltimore’s west side, Le Mondo aims to give artists a space to create. In addition to their goal of establishing an around-the-clock arts district, the project’s creators want to give Baltimore’s artists access to permanently affordable and safe studio space, something that financial constraints often make difficult. Upon completion, the arts incubator will feature a cafe on its lower level, theater space, studios artists can both live and work in, and classroom space.

Le Mondo is expected to be completed in 2018. The art haven will be right at home in the Bromo district — an area that features other art spaces including the Current Gallery, the Maryland Art Place, and the Hippodrome. It has the potential to bring more art and theater lovers from all over to Baltimore, benefitting the entire city. As Baltimore’s revitalization continues, places like this will play an important role in building a more vibrant Baltimore.

 

“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/.



DHCD Staff Complete Hundreds of Volunteer Hours for Habitat for Humanity

In 2016, Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development staff responded to Governor Larry Hogan’s call to serve by volunteering with Habitat for Humanity of the Chesapeake. Some of the participants worked in Habitat ReStores that generate income from the sale of recycled building materials and furnishings to support Habitat’s affordable housing programs.

Others worked in teams to assist in builds in the Sandtown-Winchester neighborhood of west Baltimore and on McCabe Avenue, north of the Johns Hopkins Homewood campus. Staff framed walls and parged basements on 611 & 740 McCabe Ave., helped with finish trim work at 729 McCabe Ave., and continued the brick work at 1522 Presstman St. By the time the final build was completed in December, 36 staff had logged more than 200 volunteer hours.
By volunteering for Habitat organizations, DHCD employees help a grassroots housing developer while supporting the agency’s mission to provide affordable housing and build stronger communities. The department looks forward to continuing the partnership with Habitat for Humanity in 2017.



A New Canvas for Baltimore: Roberta’s House Offers Healing for the Grieving

Since its inception, the projects and programs that have sought Project C.O.R.E. funding have been diverse, both in scope and type of project. On December 9, Governor Larry Hogan, in partnership with the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development, announced that nearly $16 million would be awarded to 30 different projects through FY17 funding.

One such recipient is Roberta’s House, a grief support center for the family of Baltimore residents who have been the victims of violent crimes. The department awarded Roberta’s House $500,000 for the acquisition and demolition of 14 properties located in the 900 block of E. North Avenue, four of which are vacant and 10 of which are severely blighted. Once those properties have been demolished, the organization will develop an approximately 18,000 square foot new construction building on the site of the former March Family Funeral home.

The new location is advantageous for a few reasons. It’s located in close proximity to significant city landmarks, including the National Great Blacks In Wax Museum and MICA, and is near communities that are currently being targeted by department revitalization efforts like Oliver, Barclay and the Station North Arts and Entertainment district. It is also located along a major thoroughfare in the City, North Avenue, US Route 1. Despite the block’s current state of disrepair, new construction here maintain’s the goal of Project: C.O.R.E.’s demolition phase.

When it’s finished, the new building will more than double the amount of space available for Roberta’s House to provide services to the families of homicide and violence victims. From their current location on St. Paul Street, the existing grief support center allows the organization to serve 500 children, families, and adults annually; the construction of the new facility will allow them to triple the amount of families that they are able to serve. They will be able to expand their current programs and provide comprehensive mental health services along with necessary grief support.
“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/.



Governor Larry Hogan Announces Project C.O.R.E. Awardees in Baltimore City

Governor Larry Hogan Announces Project C.O.R.E. Awardees in Baltimore City

State initiative provides $16 million to 30 projects

BALTIMORE, Md. (December 9, 2016) – Governor Larry Hogan today announced awardees for demolition funds through Project C.O.R.E., or Creating Opportunities for Renewal and Enterprise, a multi-year city-state partnership to demolish vacant and derelict buildings in Baltimore and replace them with green space or create the foundation for redevelopment in Baltimore City. The governor was joined by Baltimore City Mayor Catherine E. Pugh and Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) Secretary Kenneth C. Holt, as well as Baltimore City officials and community stakeholders at the demolition site in West Baltimore. The demolition site, which is the former Madison Park North apartments, is the first of more than 200 units that will be demolished as part of this project. It will serve as the future site of an Innovation Center in West Baltimore – a hub for the city’s first designated “innovation district.”

“This city-state partnership will bring much-needed investment, services, housing, and jobs to Baltimore,” said Governor Hogan. “By working with local community organizations, as well as the private sector, transformative projects like this will help ensure that Baltimore’s future is better and brighter than its present or its past.”

Under the terms of Project C.O.R.E, the state will invest $75 million supported by an $18.5 million investment from Baltimore City over the next four years. Today’s awards represent the latest phase of ongoing Project C.O.R.E. activity, which began this summer with the demolition of targeted groups of properties managed by the Maryland Stadium Authority and the city. During this time, DHCD was engaged in extensive outreach to local community organizations to assess their redevelopment needs prior to the application process for Fiscal Year 2017 Strategic Demolition Funds. The department received applications from 36 different Baltimore City agencies and nonprofit community development organizations for 77 projects. After careful deliberation, the department awarded nearly $16 million to 30 projects. These awards will serve as the catalyst for an additional $285 million investment from public, private, and nonprofit development partners.

“Project C.O.R.E. is an excellent example of what I mean by seeing challenges as opportunities for innovation,” said Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh. “I am committed to building from strength in every zipcode and it’s an honor to join Governor Hogan to begin this process with today’s award recipients. Revitalization and broad urban development must be thoughtful, insightful, and well executed. As we move West Baltimore and our City forward, I am eager to build on the synergy that exists among our state, city and community partners.”

“Thanks to our direct outreach to community organizations, the response to this application process was overwhelmingly positive,” said Secretary Holt. “The funds requested far exceeded the amount available for 2017, and in fact, the total amount allocated for demolition over the life of the initiative. This is a strong indication of the importance and potential of Project C.O.R.E. to the city.”

The awards were announced at the site of a planned Innovation Center, sponsored by the Mount Royal Community Development Corporation. The Innovation Center will be the main anchor in a new, mixed-use development gateway and town center situated on a contiguous quarter mile in the 700-900 blocks of West North Avenue. The center is part of the larger Innovation Village initiative, which calls for the creation and development of the city’s first “innovation district” by transforming 6.8 square miles of West Central Baltimore into a smart city with free WiFi and access to jobs and opportunities. This innovation district will stretch from Coppin State University to the Maryland Institute College of Art, and north from Mondawmin Mall to Martin Luther King Boulevard.

After the demolition phase, Project C.O.R.E. will be supported by more than $600 million in financing opportunities through DHCD programs. Guided by the needs of each community, the state’s investment in housing and small businesses will attract families and support economic growth in Baltimore’s neighborhoods.

For more information about Project C.O.R.E., including maps and applicable state programs, visit: http://dhcd.maryland.gov/ProjectCORE.

Fiscal Year 2017 Project C.O.R.E. Awards

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CONTACT: Sara Luell, Director of Communications, sara.luell@maryland.gov, 301-429-7803



Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development Celebrates Designation of Over 100 Sustainable Communities

Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development Celebrates Designation of Over 100 Sustainable Communities

With the recent designation of eight new Sustainable Communities, the program has reached a milestone — there are now over 100 Sustainable Communities across the state. Since 2010, the Sustainable Communities program, overseen by the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development, has provided local governments with a framework for promoting environmentally, economically and socially responsible growth and development in Maryland’s existing population centers.

But the program is about more than a label and a broad set of ideals. The Sustainable Communities program is based on a proven history of targeting investments in places with a detailed revitalization plan, specific geographies for investment, and stakeholders within the community who are committed to implementing the plan. As part of the program, local officials evaluate their own community’s strengths and weaknesses, identify implementation partners, and strive for tangible goals for the long-term vitality of the places many Marylanders live and work.

To help local governments achieve their goals, Sustainable Communities have access to various funding programs from a number of state agencies. These programs are aimed to promote the wellbeing of both residents and businesses through grants, loans and tax credits.

To date, the program has designated 103 Sustainable Communities. These communities comprise 102 municipalities and 60 unincorporated areas, since some Sustainable Communities contain more than one locality. While only 3.6 percent of Maryland’s landmass is located within designated Sustainable Communities, the department estimates these areas are home to 40 percent of Maryland’s small businesses. Over 80 percent of the cities and towns designated by the program have been incorporated for at least 100 years, and more than half of all Sustainable Communities contain a nationally designated historic district.

In November 2016, eight communities received the Sustainable Communities designation:

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Town of Cecilton (Cecil County)

As Cecil County’s largest crossroads south of the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal, Cecilton is a charming town with extensive green infrastructure and a successful new Town Activities Center. Environmental sustainability has been a major priority for the town, which recently completed a subwatershed study funded by the EPA Chesapeake Bay Program and a Maryland Energy Administration-sponsored energy audit. Among its assets are the Town Park and bike lanes, the expansion of which Cecilton hopes can serve its goal of becoming an even greater regional destination for recreation. In addition to upgrades and repairs that make the park more multifunctional, the town will also pursue efforts to improve drainage ditch maintenance due to excess agricultural runoff and to expand its housing stock, especially for seniors. Pedestrian safety has been a challenge, so Cecilton intends to seek Safe Routes to School funding and respond to the heavy truck traffic detouring from Delaware’s stretch of U.S. Route 1. The town also aims to attract commercial opportunities to provide retail services and jobs for its residents, many of whom currently travel to nearby Elkton or across the state line to Middletown, Delaware, for their daily needs.

Town of Cheverly (Prince George’s County)

Just a couple of miles away from the Washington, D.C., border, the Town of Cheverly is a diverse community with convenient access to the District and other parts of Maryland via the WMATA Metrorail Orange Line, the Baltimore-Washington Parkway, U.S. 50 and Maryland 202. These routes surround a cohesive and affordable residential community with rising property values and a healthy commercial and industrial base with low vacancy rates. Several park areas, streams and vegetative buffers define the town, which also has an extensive tree canopy. Cheverly’s revitalization priorities include reducing impervious surfaces to enhance the quality of stormwater runoff and implementing environmental site design in new construction and redevelopment projects. There will also be efforts to boost the already strong retail market by making aesthetic improvements to the town’s outdated commercial areas and expanding its shopping and dining offerings, such as a centrally-located coffeeshop. Upgrades are needed for Cheverly’s transit facilities, including its Metro station which currently has the system’s lowest daytime ridership. Rounding out the town’s plans are new community gathering spaces and events, as well as enhancements to bike and pedestrian connectivity inside Cheverly and with nearby trail networks.

Long Reach Village (Howard County)

One of the earlier villages to emerge from Columbia’s innovative mid-century master plan, Long Reach comprises a commercially-oriented village center and four residential neighborhoods. The village center area, which will be the primary target of Howard County’s redevelopment efforts, includes retail space as well as the Columbia Association’s Art Center and Stonehouse community center. Popular nearby recreational amenities, such as Blandair Park, Jackson Pond and a future indoor tennis facility, are complements to Long Reach’s trail network, community gardens, and the high school’s top-ranked environmental program. Revitalization strategies will promote new uses for the blighted village center, which is now largely county-owned, currently without an anchor store, and facing nearly 70 percent vacancy as recently as 2014. The county also plans to reduce impervious surfaces, employ better energy practices, improve its transit, bike and pedestrian networks, and develop more active public spaces. Homeowners in Long Reach would have access to programs for rehabilitation of older properties, and the county plans to investigate ways for the village to offer new housing units in response to the area’s high demand.

Town of Mardela Springs (Wicomico County)

The small town of Mardela Springs can be found along Barren Creek, a tributary of the Nanticoke River, providing it with navigable water access and plentiful acreage for recreation. Mardela Springs is also a haven for small businesses, such as the nation’s largest indoor coral farm, and a central component of the Lower Eastern Shore Heritage Area, boasting the County’s Westside Historical Society and the Barren Creek Heritage Museum. The town recently submitted a Waterway Improvement Grant application to improve its boat ramp facility, which could expand to include a kayak launch by way of other funding mechanisms now available through Sustainable Communities. Mardela Springs will also look to revamp its streetscape by developing more sidewalks and ensuring its existing pedestrian network is ADA compliant. Drainage improvements will help overcome stormwater issues brought by curb and gutter deterioration, and new and improved commercial development will expand the tax base for the historic creekside town. Home repairs on the town’s abandoned and condemned properties would supplement Mardela Springs’ already affordable housing opportunities.

Town of New Market (Frederick County)

For more than 200 years, New Market has stood watch over one of the state’s most important corridors, connecting Baltimore with Frederick and points west. The town’s history can be seen in the storefronts of its historic Main Street corridor, the heart and soul of New Market and the focal point of many of its future plans. The roadway is currently undergoing major repair work, allowing for a fresh start to streetscaping in front of the town’s businesses. The town hopes to invigorate the business climate along Main Street by helping property owners renovate their downtown commercial spaces and storefronts to allow for new businesses to set up shop. To help these businesses thrive, New Market plans to better connect the Main Street with the rest of the town by refurbishing alleys, filling in sidewalk gaps, and creating a bike and pedestrian network map for the area. Furthermore, New Market wants to add to its park assets by creating a space downtown large enough for concerts, festivals, and other community events, including the celebration of its 225th anniversary, or quasquibicentennial, in 2017. The park, in addition to a new Town Hall set to open in the next few years, will help solidify New Market’s identity.

Town of Sharpsburg (Washington County)

On September 17, 1862, the farms and valleys surrounding Sharpsburg became one of the bloodiest battlefields in American history. While the fog of war has lifted since the Battle of Antietam that rattled this town more than 150 years ago, the past plays an especially strong role in the future of this small Washington County town. The historic downtown features several small businesses, including bed and breakfasts and a popular ice cream parlor. Sharpsburg hopes to draw in more bicycle tourism by connecting to the nearby C&O Canal and wants to help businesses by adding more off-street parking. But most of the town’s goals are focused on those who live in the community. These goals include attracting a few more businesses to serve Sharpsburg’s residents and creating a loan/grant program for homeowners to renovate their homes. They also want to consider the development of a community center, which can provide services for kids and adults alike, as well as a ridesharing program that can make it easier for town residents to get to nearby commercial centers like Hagerstown or to job centers in the Washington, D.C., region.

Town of Vienna (Dorchester County)

With a population of just 271, Vienna is the smallest municipality to be designated a Sustainable Community. But the town’s small size does not stop it from having big plans for revitalization. The town was founded in 1706 on the shores of the Nanticoke River, one of the wide streams that enters the Chesapeake Bay from the Eastern Shore. Once bisected by U.S. Highway 50, the road bypassed the town in the 1990s, saving the downtown from traffic but limiting commercial opportunities. Vienna is fortunate enough to own most of the town’s shoreline along the Nanticoke, property which is being developed into a park known as Emperor’s Landing. The park will help bring in visitors not just by car off of Ocean Gateway, but also by water through a new kayak ramp. Vienna wants to expand their retail portfolio by attracting a few small stores to the town in order to allow locals to shop without heading to other communities and create new jobs for residents. Other goals in the coming years for the town include expanding transit access to Salisbury and Cambridge, repairing sidewalks to provide safer routes to school, and starting a facade improvement program for local homeowners and businesses.

Town of Williamsport (Washington County)

When Otho Holland Williams settled a town at the site where the Conococheague Creek enters the Potomac River in 1787, he had a grand vision for his future community. Williamsport, as the town would become known, was one of the candidates to be the capital of the United States. The town did not end up becoming a seat of government, but its location along the C&O Canal, now a National Park, helped it to flourish throughout the 19th century. Williamsport plans to undertake streetscape and facade improvements in its historic downtown to make it a welcoming destination for new businesses, as well as add parking to make these shops more easily accessible. The beautification would include trees, bicycle racks, and street furniture such as benches. The town also plans to rehabilitate aging housing stock and add a community center to provide activities for the fast-growing population of the area.



Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development Partners With Wicomico County for New Homeownership Initiative

Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development Partners With Wicomico County for New Homeownership Initiative

Maryland NewBuild will provide incentives to purchase newly-constructed homes in the county

NEW CARROLLTON, Md. (December 1, 2016) – The Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development has partnered with Wicomico County to launch a new homeownership initiative through the Maryland Mortgage program.  Maryland NewBuild will provide incentives to homebuyers purchasing newly constructed homes in the county, including reduced interest rates on Maryland Mortgage loans.  The initiative will be available to Wicomico County homebuyers for one year, running until December 1, 2017.

“We are proud to partner with Wicomico County to support and encourage homeownership through Maryland NewBuild,” said Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development Secretary Kenneth C. Holt.  “The combination of incentives and the stability of a mortgage backed by the State of Maryland makes this an ideal time for potential homebuyers in the county to explore their purchasing options through this initiative.”

Through Maryland NewBuild, Wicomico County homebuyers purchasing newly constructed homes in designated Priority Funding Areas can receive:

  • A 0.25% interest rate reduction on a fixed-rate Maryland Mortgage loan;
  • $5,000 in downpayment assistance through a 0% deferred loan;
  • Mortgage Credit Certificates and tax credit savings through the Maryland Homecredit Program, and;
  • A waiver from Wicomico County for the impact fees associated with the newly-constructed single family homes.

The complete package of incentives is intended to keep the price of the homes low, generate cash resources for homebuyers at closing, and provide increased purchasing ability for participating homebuyers through mortgage loan cost savings.

“We are pleased to be a part of such a meaningful opportunity for our citizens to become homeowners and partnering with Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development” said Wicomico County Executive Bob Culver.

Potential homebuyers are subject to household income limits and must meet standard qualifications under the Maryland Mortgage program, including completion of homebuyer education.  Created over 30 years ago, the Maryland Mortgage program is the state’s flagship homeownership assistance program, providing fixed-rate mortgages, primarily to first-time homebuyers, along with other down payment and closing cost incentives.  For more information, visit http://mmp.maryland.gov/NewBuild.

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CONTACT: Sara Luell, Director of Communications, sara.luell@maryland.gov, 301-429-7803



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