Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Poppleton: Public Housing Disperse!

My previous article was supposed to address Poppleton's public housing and poverty concentration more, but it went in a different direction and I'm fine with that. However, I still want to address public housing and how such a large concentration of it can derail all the redevelopment plans elsewhere throughout Poppleton. What follows is a plan to de-concentrate Poppleton's public housing through redevelopment and re-purposing by while adding more public housing for Seniors.
There are currently two public housing developments located in Poppleton. First is the aging Poe Homes while the other is the Townes at the Terraces or simply "Terraces" This deep concentration of poverty will no doubt be an obstacle to redeveloping the rest of Poppleton and luring employees of the Biotech Park to spend more time there such as patronizing businesses and taking walks around the Community during lunch.
Now "Terraces" is technically a mixed income development. However, the vast majority of the homes there are still public housing. Couple that with Poe Homes, it becomes clear that the mix of income in not only these two developments needs to bee broadened, but Poppleton as a whole does too. Luckily the developers who are redeveloping the rest of Poppleton share that vision and are providing affordable housing as well as Market Rate.
Due to its age, Poe Homes will have to be torn down and redeveloped. Although other cities have rehabbed and reused public housing buildings once they've closed, most of Baltimore's public housing developments look the same and I don't think it would be wise to spend all that money getting the buildings up to modern standards when there's no guarantee that these buildings are sell-able. Also the Senior component would require a lot of modifications for ADA compliance. 
So with that, Poe Homes should be redeveloped and replaced with new construction with a mix of incomes and housing types so it can fit in seamlessly with the rest of Poppleton. The redeveloped Poe Homes which will not be named Poe Homes, will feature Apartments, Condos, and Town Homes (with and without garages) and will be Public Housing, Public Housing for Seniors, Subsidized Home Ownership, Market Rate Rentals, and Market Rate Home Ownership all overlooking a new Community Park.   
Example of Market Rate Rentals
The Market Rate Rentals will be on the western edge of Poe Homes on Amity St. (the Poe House will be spared) Amity St. will be the back of both Metro West and the new Poe Homes as the fronts will face Schroeder St. and the new Center Courtyard respectively. 

 The northern edge of the new Poe Homes will be on Saratoga St featurong Subsidized Home Ownership Town Homes. These will be two rows deep with frontage on Saratoga St. along with the Courtyard while sharing a common alley driveway to access the two car garage that comes standard with each home. 
Between the Church on Saratoga St. and its intersection with Fremont Avenue, there will be a row of public housing town homes. These will not have garages as they will have 4-5 bedrooms to accommodate large families. Along Fremont Avenue will be a mid-rise public housing Senior Building whose facade matches the one across the street at the Terraces development. 

Example of Market Rate Condos

Then finally along the southern edge of Poe Homes on Lexington St. will be a Condo Building that's market rate home ownership. Then finally the piece de resistance; the Courtyard. It will feature a playground, multi-use field, and an outdoor pool with a volley pit and a barbecue pit for Community cook outs.
Next we come to the Terraces. Although they are newer, lots of repairs and upgrades will have to be made before the uses of them are diversified. Like the new Poe Homes, the re-purposed Terraces will feature the same mixes of income although the Terraces won't feature any Condos and Apartments will be Seniors only. The re-purposed Terraces will be renovated inside and out to keep them looking brand new and attract new Residents. 
The lay out and the housing options of the Terraces will be as follows. The southeastern corner bordered by Fremont Avenue, Lexington St, MLK Boulevard, and Fayette St. will be Market Rate Home Ownership. This will help the Biotech Park and the newly rehabbed/rebuilt Poppleton Place Apartments nearby have a broader mix of housing bordering it. The largest block of the Terraces will be Market Rate Rentals bordered by MLK Boulevard, Lexington St., Fremont Avenue and Saratoga St. The Senior Building in this block will remain so and will remian public housing as well. The swath of vacant land in this block will play host to a second public housing Senior Building with Lexington St. Frontage. The remainder of this land will be a Community Park not unlike that I have proposed for the new Poe Homes.
In the northwestern corner of The Terraces bordered by Poppleton St, Mulberry St., Fremont Avenue, and Saratoga St. will be subsidized Home Ownership. Across the street on Saratoga St., the section of the new Poe Homes will also be subsidized Home Ownership. I want to create a "Home Ownership Opportunity Zone" along Saratoga St. to stabilize this section of Poppleton and Residents new and old recognize the dream of Home Ownership. Finally, the northeastern section of the Terraces bordered by Fremont Avenue, Mulberry St. MLK Boulevard, and Saratoga St. will remain Public Housing. This section of the Neighborhood is located the closest to vital services such as the Rite Aid Pharmacy and the Office Building containing Doctors Offices and a Credit Union within a very short walk of the public housing units.
I'm not against Public Housing, but I do know that throughout history, the concentration of poverty that too many public housing units create tends to be responsible for a lot of the crime, drugs, and urban decay that strangles the life from these Neighborhoods. If you're looking at a Neighborhood like Poppleton, a Neighborhood that is desperately trying for a rebirth, it's time to disperse the large concentration of public housing.

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