Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Mount Clare:Lets See Some Stimulus Dollars

The American Investment and Recovery Act. In these tough economic times it was and is today's version of the New Deal which made FDR one of the best Presidents on the Domestics. The American Investment and Recovery Act is set to create jobs for workers mostly in the Blue Collar sector as they will be charged with repairing America's aging Infrastructure. As of the writing of this post, I haven't heard of this Act being used to redo an entire a neighborhood. Well that's what I'm proposing for this post and as the title suggests, it's Mount Clare. So Mount Clare, Lets See Some Stimulus Dollars!Mount Clare has earned its page in Baltimore's and the American Railroad's History Books. Its location at the eastern terminus of the B&O Railroad has meant work for those who lived nearby for decades whether it be the maintenance of the tracks & cars, their expansion, or the loading and unloading of goods and services made Mount Clare a destination for anyone willing to work. The B&O's western terminus changed many times over but its eastern terminus will always be Mount Clare. Mount Clare's location has allowed for industry to pop up all around it for its proximity to the Railroad line. Yes, for Mount Clare it was the Great American Love Story known as Capitalism at its best.Like all love stories, a happy ending is hard to come by. When the love story in question is capitalism in post industrial America, it's down right impossible. The B&O Railroad, bought and sold several times rerouted its tracks away from Mount Clare, Industrial Jobs including those on the Railroad itself disappeared never to be seen again. Now did that leave Mount Clare? It left Mount Clare in the same place as all other urban rust belt neighborhoods across the Country. Mount Clare's population began to go down leaving home and businesses vacant and its infrastructure left to crumble.

The gentrification of the Inner Harbor didn't so much as graze Mount Clare. What it did bring was a new Shopping Center known as "Mount Clare Junction" that was integrated into the B&O Rail Museum. The Safeway anchor tenant just closed its doors, the Shopping Center has suffered from high vacancies and low attendance just like the neighborhood it serves. The Inner Harbor Gentrification has turned around Pigtown, Mount Clare's neighbor directly to the east. Sadly, the economy went bust just as there was a shred of hope that Pigtown's gentrification was traveling west to Mount Clare. With Pigtown, Hollins Market, and hopefully Mount Clare Junction's vacant Safeway (pictured above) will be backfilled with another Grocer.Now what makes me think that wanna be Harbor Dwellers would come to Mount Clare? Well take a look at this "Million Dollar" shot from Mount Clare that showcases Downtown. Yep, this picturesque view is afforded to Mount Clare residents past present, and future. Now, this view isn't secluded to Mount Clare exclusively. Other Communities with a great Downtown view have redeveloped with brand new housing. Is this what I want for Mount Clare? NoNow we come to the American Investment and Recovery Act and what it can do for Mount Clare. When you think of that act you would think that at best, it would repave the streets, re cement the sidewalks, restripe crosswalks and median strips, angled parking, more greenery, streetscape enhancements, new traffic signals and count down pedestrian signals, new street lights, and bus stops.But how does this help the housing stock? Directly, it doesn't. Indirectly, it could bring about some homesteaders but not enough. Now where does this leave the Housing Stock? The American Reinvestment and Recovery Act doesn't appear to do much if anything for housing. Now why is that? I don't know. Could additional funds diverted to Mount Clare via the American Investment and Recovery Act be beneficial to Mount Clare and Baltimore as a whole? Yes. What I'm proposing is for the feds to acquire all vacants in Mount Clare just like the O'Malley Administration's "Project 5000" Unlike to Dollar Row Home Program, these homes will be rehabbed BEFORE being sold rather than after. This is Reinvestment in America resulting in Recovery, the definition of the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act. So Mount Clare, Lets See Some Stimulus Dollars!


Anonymous said...

You make some excellent points. I hope the people in charge see your blog sometimes.

Mr. Mephistopheles said...

The Safeway at Mount Clare Junction shut down a few months ago.

Anonymous said...

Definently agree with the first comment about the people in charge seeing your blog. The new mayor is terrible. She has vowed to keep demolishing the city where there is high crime, with no plans to develop the vacant lots that will be made. i don't truely think she cares of the city, just here own personal agenda, whatever that may be. You would be a far more capable and competent person than Mayor Rawlings-Blake

Kirk Mantay said...

A revamped rowhouse program would be great, but you just simply can't get around the fact that many of the city's most beautiful neighborhoods are not safe to live in. I mean, your odds of actually getting murdered are very low. But your odds of getting mugged, burglarized, raped, or your car stolen are extremely high.

I've lived in the city for 12 years & drive through it diagonally to work every morning, so I've seen the good, bad, & ugly.

It's sad :(

Spence Lean said...

Swamp Thing, I agree that crime is a BIG problem in Mount Clare but that hasn't deterred renewal efforts in Pigtown, Union Square, Hollins Market, Patterson Park, McElderry Park, Station North, Hampden, and even Middle East north of Hopkins though it was through intense redevelopment. People are seeing the potential in these neighborhoods and are planting a stake in their communities by investing in their homes and not letting crime which still is a factor deter them. I think if revamped housing stock were offered to Mount Clare residents it can enjoy the same rebirth, not to mention the additional jobs created by rehabbing homes.

Anonymous said...

It would have been a good idea back in 1976 if they didn't tear down the mt. Clare shops. Instead they should have refurbished the major buildings/shops and made them into retail shops, museum and antique shops like they have at Savage Mill. Then include it with some type of free transportation to and from the inner harbor to bring in business. But no instead they tore down history and a historic landmark just like they did with the Brunswick roundhouse.
I guess most people don't know that the B&O was the 1st railroad in the US and it all began here!
It's a real pity. Now Mt. Clare is just full of prostitutes and drug addicts. They even have a rehab facility over there! From hard working Irish to drug invested heroin addicts. A typical end to the blue collar cities across America.