Neighborhood Snapshot: Druid Heights tackles empty lots and weeds

June 17, 2015 - storage organizer

Druid Heights proprietor Bernard Taylor drives to a subsequent dull lot in need of mowing.

Photo by: Danielle Sweeney



From a chair of his roving mower during Robert and Division streets, Bernard Taylor speaks seemingly about one of Druid Heights’ biggest challenges: dull lots and overgrowth.

“The lots, a grass, a trees. These alleys – we can’t see down half of them. A while back, there was a physique in one of them alleys and it was so disproportionate it took a while to find it.”

“And some of these houses,” he continued with exasperation, indicating a retard or dual away, “I mean, one of them’s got a tree flourishing out of a god-dammed roof. It’s a disaster here. I know a city can’t do everything, yet come on. we live here.”

Taylor has been slicing dull lots in Druid Heights  for a year, contributing his possess roving mower and profitable for a gas.

On Saturday, he was one of some-more than 175 volunteers from a area and organizations like Social Baltimore and No Boundaries Coalition who assimilated army to help Druid Heights get a hoop on its two-foot-high weeds and grass.

The cleanup, a initial of what will be monthly painting projects, focused on 17 dull lots and was orderly by a Druid Heights Community Development Corporation with a support of a area’s dual councilmen, Eric T. Costello and Nick Mosby, who brought in collection from a Tool Bank, volunteers and city support.

Volunteers, including 11th District Councilman Eric Costello (in purple t-shirt), cut behind overgrowth surrounding a tree on Bloom Street. (Photo by Danielle Sweeney)

Limited Resources

Located nearby a epicenter of April’s demonstration usually easterly of Sandtown-Winchester, a area is full of dull lots, about 85 parcels worth.

Many are owned possibly by a CDC or a city. “It’s one of a biggest challenges, gripping a open space purify with singular resources. We can’t do it all ourselves,” said Tony Pressley, a CDC’s apparatus director. “We have dual part-time workers. We used to have four.”

Until recently, one dull lot was used as a storage area for a city contractor. “Stuff was out there for about a year and a half,” Costello said. “Once DPW knew about it, though, they came out and spotless it adult within a week.”

One of Saturday’s volunteers was Tiffany Wingate.

Tiffany Wingate sweeps a retard in Druid Heights. (Photo by Danielle Sweeney)

She grew adult in McCulloh Homes, a open housing plan a few blocks away, and returned to a area about 3 years ago, buying a home in Druid Heights.

“My mom still lives here. we wanted to spend my after years giving something back,” a mom of 3 grown children explained as she swept a path and pulled weeds via a area for many of a day.

“I could have bought in a county with a crickets and a owls, yet we wanted to be here,” she said.

Pride and a Peace Park

Wingate recalls her girl in Baltimore, a time when she believes people took some-more interest in their communities.

“We had a Afro purify retard contests. Residents could win prizes and there was an fad about it, a certain pride.”

Wingate said of a city and those days “you can’t go back,” yet combined that “Baltimore has a lot of good people and a lot of good places. This village in particular, there is a lot of story here. The initial African-American to possess a home in this area was usually about a retard from me.”

The neighborhood has done some advance on a dull lot front. Two of a dull lots during Druid Hill Avenue and Bloom Street will soon be converted into a assent park.

Roscoe Johnson, executive executive of a CDC, said, “There aren’t many places in a area usually to relax outside. The park will have benches, a sleet garden, pavers and trees.”

Tavon Benson, an organizer with a Druid Heights CDC, points a proffer to a work site. (Photo by Danielle Sweeney)

Tavon Benson, a village organizer with a CDC, pronounced some 600 neighbors weighed in on what they wanted for a grant-funded assent park, that will embody charge H2O government facilities and a mural.

Benson pronounced he’d like a picture to simulate a area’s history, depicting a past, benefaction and future. (Druid Heights already has one mural, two giveaway library boxes and garden on a dilemma of Druid Hill Avenue and Presstman Street.)

During a debate of a neighborhood, he concurred that the area continues to onslaught with drugs. The trade was quieter today, he noted. mostly since of all a cleanup activity.

“It’s not as bad as it used to be, yet it is still here. We’re perplexing to change a mindset of a community.”

He looked across a travel during a dull building and said wistfully, “If we had money, we would spin one of these into a girl center. “

Stoopfront Snowballs

While parts of Druid Heights spotless up, the rest of a area went about a day.

Save for a occasional vroom of a mud bike doing wheelies northbound on Druid Hill Avenue, a area was quiet in a prohibited sun.

The dilemma store did good business. Fifty-cent, foot-long freezee pops were big sellers, while a few blocks divided on Gold Street, Sophia McMurray manned her stoopfront confectionary.

Under a red shutter with a fan, she and her family sole snacks, tiny bags of candy, soda, H2O and snowballs (also starting during 50 cents).

Sophia McMurray during her snowball and mangle stand. She uses her increase to buy propagandize reserve for area children. (Photo by Danielle Sweeney)

McMurray is raising income for propagandize reserve for area children, she said. She has been in a snowball and candy business for few years, off and on. “I buy reserve or whoever needs them,” she explained.

As for a snowballs, she added, “I’ve got all a good flavors and marshmallow, too.”

“Just Give us a Tools”

Taylor was slicing weed many of a day. He said, on a mangle in between lots, that he wished a area had some-more purify adult resources accessible not usually for a dull lots, yet for alleys and elsewhere.

He doesn’t wish to rest on a city.

“We don’t wish a trashy-ass neighborhood. If I had a extend for some some-more apparatus – use of a truck that runs, a chainsaw, giveaway dumping, we could do a lot of this for ourselves,” he said. “Why can’t people be empowered? Just give us a tools.”

A picture and dual giveaway library boxes on Druid Hill Avenue and Presstman Street. (Photo by Danielle Sweeney)

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