Finest Apartments for Rent Baltimore

Apartments for Rent

Finest Apartments for Rent Baltimore

The apartments for rent baltimore aren’t very hard to attain these days, because of the availability of various resources that can be utilized for this purpose.  However, it’s your job to determine that which source can be the best for you. Read More

Baltimore County, grieving after multiple losses, bands together

Jeffrey Griffin brought flowers to Precinct Eight Parkville Station where police officer Amy Caprio, a nearly four-year veteran, worked. She was killed in the line of duty Monday. (Algerina Perna / Baltimore Sun)

Maria Greenwood is packing 200 kits filled with candy, American flags and ‘thank you’ cards for the police officers at Baltimore County’s Parkville precinct, one way she’s found to channel the grief after a police officer was killed in the line of duty this week.

The death of Officer Amy S. Caprio — a 29-year-old who died of head trauma Monday after being hit by a vehicle while investigating suspicious activity — is the latest tragedy to leave county residents reeling. Her killing comes less than two weeks after County Executive Kevin Kamenetz died of cardiac arrest. It also follows the incarceration of the county’s former school superintendent Dallas Dance.

To Greenwood, of Parkville, the care packages are a small act of kindness that plays a part in building positive relationships between the community and law enforcement. She hopes to deliver them by Sunday.

“You just never know what could happen to any one of them,” said Greenwood, who has delivered nearly 3,000 care packages since 2016, when two Harford County deputies were killed on the job. “That’s what draws me to do this. I want every officer in the county and the city to know that they are loved and they are thought of and that they are prayed for on a daily basis by people like me. And it’s just really important.”

Gov. Larry Hogan on Tuesday ordered the U.S. and Maryland flags lowered to half-staff until after Caprio’s burial. The county’s first female officer killed on duty, she would have celebrated her fourth year on the force in July. Four Baltimore teenagers have been charged as adults in the killing.

Caprio was at Linwen Way at 2 p.m. to respond to a 911 call, which said three people got out of a Jeep Wrangler walked around the neighborhood and broke into a home. Prosecutors say when she confronted the driver of the Jeep, he “drove at the officer.” She was later pronounced dead at a hospital.

Hogan said he was heartbroken over Caprio’s death.

“She bravely made the ultimate sacrifice for the safety and security of our citizens, and we all owe her a debt of gratitude for her selfless service,” Hogan said in a statement. “We continue to keep Officer Caprio’s family, loved ones, her brothers and sisters in blue, and the entire Baltimore County community in our prayers.”

Baltimore County Council Chairman Julian Jones called the back-to-back-to-back ordeals “a very trying time” for county residents. He said he was stopped three times Tuesday on a short walk from a parking garage to his office by people expressing shock and condolences about the string of events.

“It has certainly been a period of time like no other here in Baltimore County,” said Jones, a Democrat from Woodstock who represents a district in the western portion of the county.

Since the May 10 death of Kamenetz, a leading Democratic candidate for governor, the county’s day-to-day business has been handled by longtime county administrator Fred Homan. He has been named acting executive until the council selects a new leader.

The county is also looking to stabilize the school system after Maryland’s top public education official blocked the county school board’s appointment of Verletta White as permanent superintendent over concerns about White’s ethics violations and the school system’s failure to audit its practices for issuing contracts. White was appointed to replace Dance, who pleaded guilty to four counts of perjury for lying on financial disclosure forms and is currently serving a sixth-month sentence in a Virginia jail.

Several council members discussed the adversity facing the county at a public hearing in Towson to discuss a replacement for Kamenetz.

“These are somber times,” said Councilman Todd K. Crandell, a Dundalk Republican, adding that the council members and many others are dedicated to the county’s success. “I believe that we are an extraordinary place to live. We’re going through some tough times right now.

“This county will be just fine moving forward, given the extreme circumstances that we’re faced with.”

County Councilwoman Vicki Almond, a Reisterstown Democrat, said the county has “suffered in the last couple of weeks greatly.”

“It’s an extraordinary time for Baltimore County, and a humbling time that forces us to stop and think our about values and what truly matters,” Almond said.

Peggy Winchester said the presence of a police cruiser in the parking lot of her church, Perry Hall United Methodist, when she arrived for Bible study Tuesday was a reminder of the county’s troubles — and the country’s, with frequent school shootings and other devastating incidents.

Talk of the officer’s death took over the conversation once she got inside.

“Why does this happen time after time?” Winchester, 83, said. “It seems like it’s one thing after another. We have to feel sad, not only for ourselves, but for our young people coming up.

“To me, it felt good to have your faith. It felt good to know that no matter what went on, despite of everything, God is still in charge. You can reach out to God whether you’re afraid or whatever your feelings are. You have someone to go to.”

Like at Winchester’s church, an officer waited in a police car outside of Perry Hall Elementary School Tuesday, as children arrived in the rain. Teachers and school administrators stood outside to welcome them and shepherd them inside.

Blanca Serrano, 49, dropped off her grandson Daniel Chavez, a kindergartner. The boy was one of nearly 2,000 students in Perry Hall area schools who were stuck inside the schools until after dinnertime Monday while police searched for suspects in the officer’s killing.

Serrano called the ordeal terrible, and said she tried to insulate her grandson from information about the officer’s death to protect him from getting scared. As he spent hours inside his school Monday, Daniel was eating and singing in his classroom, shielded from any trouble outside, she said.

"I felt worried,” the Perry Hall woman said. “I don’t feel safe. The school, I know they protect all those kids. … I go home and cry because I’m Grandma.”

Cheryl Kuhl, 71, was driving home from work in Baltimore late Monday and had to stay at a hotel because her neighborhood was blocked off by police.

"It’s all very sad," said Kuhl, who has lived in Baltimore County for 39 years.

Still, she said, the county remains a “great” place to live.

Baltimore Sun reporter Catherine Rentz contributed to this article.

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Kaiser Permanente pledges $200 million for U.S. affordable housing; Baltimore is eligible

Calling it one of the biggest private investments ever in affordable housing, Kaiser Permanente pledged to spend as much as $200 million to house the poor, middle class, and homeless across the country.

Officials with the nonprofit health care provider were to announce the investment Friday in Washington, D.C. before mayors and business leaders. Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh was scheduled to attend.

“We hope our commitment creates a broader national conversation on homelessness and encourages other companies to join with us,” Kaiser Permanente CEO Bernard Tyson said in a statement.

Affordable housing projects in Baltimore and elsewhere are eligible for the money. But unlike similar campaigns, the money won’t be handed down in grants to those who apply.

In Baltimore’s high-crime zones, an experiment in government starts to yield results

Instead, Kaiser Permanente will assemble an advisory board that will work with regional offices to identify and invest in projects. Along with the social goodwill, organizers expect some financial return on their investments. Such factors will determine how much money is invested in any city.

The money will be invested in projects to provide housing and services for the homeless, to make affordable homes healthier and environmentally friendly, and to prevent low and middle class families from being pushed out of gentrifying neighborhoods.

The new, good homes will lead to healthier families, they say. The nonprofit provides healthcare for more than 12 million people in eight states, including Maryland. Affordable housing projects in these states are eligible.

Organizers said they will provide additional details about their investment plans in the coming weeks. The health care provider also announced it was joining a coalition of mayors and business leaders working to advance federal policies on affordable housing.

An estimated 600 people sleep on Baltimore streets on a typical night, and thousands more lack stable housing.

Across Maryland, more than 31,000 people received homeless services last year, according to the state’s annual report on homelessness. The annual number of homeless increased 4.6 percent last year, according to the report.

Maryland families find themselves on the streets because of low wages and a scarcity of affordable homes. The cost of living in Maryland has increased in the last two years. The state has climbed from the 11th to the eighth most expensive, according to the report.

A one-bedroom apartment in Maryland cost an average of $1,219 a month last year, the report found. Federal authorities estimate Maryland has a shortage of more than 90,000 affordable apartments.

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What $500K Gets You In Today’s Maryland Real Estate Market

MARYLAND — Living in Maryland might be expensive, but buying a home here doesn’t have to break the bank.

If you’re in the market for a home in Maryland and your budget is under $500,000, Patch has a slew of listings provided by our partners at

These homes have just been listed within the last few days and they likely won’t last long.

This three-bedroom home is in a fantastic location in Silver Spring. Features eat-in kitchen, wood burning fireplace and rear deck.

Stunning colonial home located in Belvedere Square with five spacious bedrooms.
Tucked away at the end of a quiet court backing to woods in the heart of Perry Hall.
Spectacular five-bedroom backs to farm preservation area in Mount Airy.
Adorable four-bedroom Cape Cod home with peaceful backyard.
Model condition back-to-back end unit with three bedrooms.

Photos via

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On government forms, Md. gubernatorial candidate said she lived in D.C.

Krishanti Vignarajah announces her run for Maryland governor in front of the Baltimore apartment complex where she lived as a young child. (Katherine Frey/The Washington Post)

Four years before entering the Maryland governor’s race, Democrat Krishanti Vignarajah got a letter from the D.C. Board of Elections.

The board had information suggesting Vignarajah was registered to vote in Maryland, the letter said. “However, our records indicate that you reside, and are registered to vote, at the address indicated below” — a co-op unit at the Chastleton, a 1920s-era midrise near Dupont Circle.

Vignarajah could have checked a box to indicate she did not reside in the District. Instead, on Feb. 20, 2014, she checked the box that said: “I currently reside at the address below, as indicated in the Board’s records.” Then she signed her name.

More than two years later, on May 26, 2016, she listed the D.C. apartment as her residence in her application for a Maryland marriage license.

The two documents, which have not previously been made public, could contradict a claim Vignarajah has made during her campaign: that the co-op unit, which she bought with her mother in 2009, was only a place to lay her head after a day’s work.

“I didn’t live there, but I did have a crash pad there,” Vignarajah said on Kojo Nnamdi’s radio show on WAMU-FM (88.5) in August.

Maryland requires that its governor be a resident of the state for five years prior to the election, a requirement that Vignarajah says she meets because she considered Maryland her home even during her years in the District, when she worked for a law firm and the Obama administration.

“The apartment merely served as a convenient nearby dwelling after long days and nights at work,” Vignarajah said in court papers filed in October in an effort to put to rest questions about her eligibility.

This week, in response to questions from The Washington Post, Vignarajah said in a statement: “Maryland is and always has been home. Temporarily residing outside of Maryland, whether it’s for school or work, does not change my permanent residence, as a matter of law or common sense.”

In her 2016 marriage license application, Krishanti Vignarajah said lived in in Washington, D.C. (Clerk of Circuit Court for Dorchester County)

News organizations reported last summer that Vignarajah — one of seven major candidates competing for the Democratic nomination to challenge Gov. Larry Hogan (R) — was registered to vote in the District and Maryland and voted in the District through 2014.

No one challenged her eligibility when she filed candidacy papers this winter, and her place on the June 26 primary ballot is assured. But Republicans say they would try to challenge her should she win the nomination. Some lawyers interviewed by The Post said it’s possible such a challenge would be allowed, while others doubted it, given the time that has passed since Vignarajah filed to run.

In the past, Vignarajah has likened questions about her residency to conspiracy theories pushed by Donald Trump that Barack Obama was not born in the United States.

She did not answer questions about three government documents obtained by The Post through public records requests. In addition to the 2014 D.C. Board of Elections letter and the marriage license application, they include a 2010 statement to the elections board saying she lived in the co-op unit and did not claim the right to vote outside the District.

Her campaign told The Post that Vignarajah has filed D.C. income taxes, but declined to say for which year or years.

Vignarajah’s spokeswoman, Elizabeth Waickman, says the matter of her eligibility is settled, because of a Maryland law that limits the window of time for challenging a candidate’s residency status. Waickman accused other Democrats in the race of continuing to press the issue to reporters at a time when Vignarajah has performed well at candidate forums and in several straw polls.

“It’s no surprise her opponents are trying to revive it now that she has such momentum,” Waickman said in an email. She said Vignarajah is “focused on convincing voters that Krish is not just the only woman and mom and immigrant in the race, she’s also the best choice on the ballot.”

In a video posted on Facebook Monday, Vignarajah reiterates the arguments she made in a lawsuit she filed last fall asking a judge to declare her an eligible candidate. She said she grew up and attended public schools in Maryland and considered her parents’ house in Catonsville, outside Baltimore, her home. In an affidavit filed as part of the lawsuit, she said she received mail and kept personal belongings there, “including most of my clothing, furniture, artwork, personal and professional records, books, and a lot of shoes.”

Vignarajah dropped the suit in January, after the state attorney general’s office said there was no basis to think a legal challenge to her candidacy was imminent.

A Hogan spokesman declined to comment. But other Republicans, including Del. Joe Cluster (Baltimore County), the former state GOP executive director, said someone in the party would surely attempt to challenge Vignarajah if she were the nominee.

“She shouldn’t be able to be on the ballot,” Cluster said. “If I was executive director of the Maryland Republican Party and she was the nominee for the Democrats, I would challenge her running for governor.”

Were such a challenge permitted, the government documents and Vignarajah’s voting history would be “a killer,” said Timothy Maloney, a lawyer and former Democratic state lawmaker who is not supporting anyone in the primary. “It would be almost impossible to overcome.”

In response to a query from the D.C. Board of Elections in 2014, Krishanti Vignarajah said she resided in the District. (D.C. Board of Elections)

Vignarajah has framed her time in the District as a temporary period when she was a federal government appointee. But she first registered to vote there while working for the D.C. law firm of Jenner & Block. She stayed at the firm until 2011, when she joined the State Department.

From 2015 until January 2017, she worked as policy director to first lady Michelle Obama. Vignarajah and her husband, Collin O’Mara, bought a home in Gaithersburg last July , a month before she announced plans to run for governor.

Vignarajah voted in the District in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2014. Though she registered to vote in Maryland in 2006, she voted there for her first time in the 2016 general election.

Rachel Chason contributed to this report.

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Here’s The Millennial Name Picked For MD Zoo Penguin: Patch PM

Share-worthy stories from the Maryland Patch network to talk about tonight:

Light City kicks off this weekend in Baltimore and will turn the promenade around the Inner Harbor into a dazzling, interactive light show. The theme for 2018 is "More Love, More Lights!"

A Temple Hills man has received a 10-year sentence for his role in a dogfighting ring, as well as for being ringleader in a credit card fraud and identity theft scheme, according to a Department of Justice statement.

The Maryland Zoo asked you to help it name its 1,000th baby penguin, which was born this winter, and you answered the call. Last week, zoo officials announced the bird is a girl, and she needed a name; Friday the winner was announced.

A Los Angeles television producer who has worked on "The Jerry Springer Show" and "Divorce Court," was taken into custody Thursday in Baltimore on suspicion of murder. Jill Blackstone was arrested at Johns Hopkins Hospital on a warrant for murder in the death of her sister.

The home of retired Baltimore Oriole Cal Ripken Jr. is going up for auction in May. This weekend the open houses begin for potential buyers interested in the multi-million-dollar property.

Robert Griffin III’s quest to find another job in the NFL succeeded recently when he signed a one-year contract with the Baltimore Ravens. But the former Washington Redskins quarterback remains on another quest, and that’s to finally sell his old DC-area digs as listed as here on that have been on the market for some two years.

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Photo courtesy of the Maryland Zoo

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Ravens heighten quarterback hype by bringing in Lamar Jackson for visit

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The Baltimore Ravens are bringing in Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson for a pre-draft visit, according to The MMQB.

This will undoubtedly increase speculation that Baltimore is considering drafting a quarterback in the first round. The key question is: Are the Ravens really interested in Jackson or do they simply want others teams to think they are?

It’s not out of the question that Baltimore takes a quarterback with its top pick. Joe Flacco has struggled since winning the Super Bowl five years ago, and the Ravens can create $18.5 million in cap space in 2019 by designating him as a post-June 1 cut.

The Ravens’ front office has done nothing to quiet the hype that Baltimore will take a quarterback in the first round for the first time in a decade. Assistant general manager Eric DeCosta said the team would pick a quarterback if there’s one "really too good to pass up," and general manager Ozzie Newsome hinted the Ravens could "surprise" in the first round.

If Baltimore believes Flacco could be gone after this season, it makes sense to take a quarterback now, giving him a year to watch and learn. And, if the Ravens are eyeing a quarterback with the No. 16 overall pick, Jackson is the best bet among the top five quarterbacks to slide to the middle of the first round.

"Lamar, obviously, set the college landscape on fire his freshman year," Ravens director of college scouting Joe Hortiz said. "He’s just a dynamic athlete, unbelievable speed when he gets out in the open as a runner, but he’s got a really strong arm, with the ability to drive the ball into tight windows. He’s the type of guy you can build around."

The Ravens’ visit with the 2016 Heisman Trophy winner could just be gamesmanship. If Baltimore isn’t interested in drafting a quarterback in the first round, it would be in the Ravens’ best interest to make other teams believe they are.

The more quarterbacks are taken in the top half of the first round — and four of them (Sam Darnold, Josh Rosen, Josh Allen and Baker Mayfield) are virtual locks — the more it pushes highly rated (non-quarterback) prospects to No. 16. Showing interest in Jackson could prod a team wanting a young quarterback like the Los Angeles Chargers (No. 17), New England Patriots (No. 23, New Orleans Saints (No. 27) or Jacksonville Jaguars (No. 29) to jump in front of Baltimore.

Drafting a quarterback in the first round would go against Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti’s comments in February. Asked if it was time to start looking at life without Flacco, Bisciotti said, "We’ve got bigger fish to fry."

At Wednesday’s pre-draft news conference, Newsome said the Ravens haven’t paid more attention to this year’s quarterback class than previous ones.

"I think the quality of the number of guys maybe more than which allows us to make sure we do our homework," Newsome said.

Jackson is a unique talent, becoming the the only player in FBS history to rush for at least 1,500 yards and pass for at least 3,500 yards in a season. And Jackson accomplished this feat twice (in 2016 and 2017).

He went 22-11 as a starting quarterback at Louisville and was a touchdown machine. He reached the end zone 119 times (a school record), running for 50 and throwing for 69.

The biggest concern is his accuracy. He completed 57 percent of his throws for his career.

ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. described Jackson as an "in the area" thrower.

"He’s got to improve his accuracy. That’s a fact," Kiper said. "That 57 percent, you haven’t seen any improvement off of that. The combine, he was still all over the place with those throws, so that’s where you know he’s going to need some time and some work."

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Most-Stressed States: Where Does Maryland Rank?

BALTIMORE, MD — How’s your stress level? If you’re like most people in Maryland it’s pretty low, although that doesn’t seem to be the case for nearby Washington, D.C. The District narrowly misses being one of the most-stressed states in the nation, according to personal finance website WalletHub. Who’s the most chilled out? Minnesota is the least stressed in the country, according to a new ranking. The opposite is true in Louisiana, the Pelican State, which WalletHub said is the most-stressed state in the country.

Maryland ranks at a chill No. 37 on the stress list, sandwiched between Vermont and Connecticut. Washington, D.C. comes in at No. 13 falling just outside the most-stressed top 10 states in the nation. That shouldn’t be a surprise since residents in the city are tied for fifth place in the number of hours worked, and it ranks second behind Hawaii for least affordable housing.

Meanwhile, Virginia is also pretty chill, ranking No. 33 overall by the website, although it ranks No. 16 for work-related stress. Maryland ranks No. 18 for work-related stress.

WalletHub released its rankings of 2018’s Most and Least Stressed States to coincide with Stress Awareness Month and to bring attention to research that shows American stress levels have been increasing since 2016.
The rankings cover four basic areas — work-related stress, money-related stress, family-related stress and health and safety-related stress. The analysts looked at everything from the average number of hours people work to personal bankruptcy rates to how much sleep average Americans get.

For more information on state rankings and WalletHub’s methodology, click here.

The 10 least-stressed states are:

MinnesotaNorth DakotaUtahIowaSouth DakotaWisconsinColoradoMassachusettsHawaiiNebraska

The 10 most-stressed states are:

LouisianaNew MexicoWest VirginiaMississippiNevadaArkansasOklahomaAlabamaKentuckyTennessee

(For more news like this, find your local Patch here. If you have an iPhone, click here to get the free Patch iPhone app; download the free Patch Android app here.)

So, what can you do to reduce stress?

"There are many angles on both the roots of stress and how to manage it, and I would hesitate to say there is a one-size-fits-all solution," Heidemarie Kaiser Laurant, an assistant professor of psychology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, said in a news release announcing the study. "However, one approach with a compelling history and increasing research support is mindfulness, which does not in itself does not cost any money."

The idea is that much of what is experienced as stress isn’t about life experiences, but rather internal resistance or struggles that we bring to those experiences. While the mortgage payment or long work week may loom large, just dealing with it — instead of complaining about it — is a better approach, she said.

"A commonly used metaphor involves two arrows: The first arrow is the pain of a difficult or psychological experience and the second (more damaging) arrow is the suffering that comes from adding judgments like ‘this shouldn’t be here/I can’t deal with this,’ " Laurant said. "By cultivating an attitude of greater acceptance — which does not mean passive resignation, but rather an active embrace of things as they are and our own capacity to work with these conditions — we can significantly reduce stress in our lives."

Some other findings from the analysis:

Hawaii has the lowest unemployment rate, 2.4 percent, which is three times lower than in Alaska, the highest at 7.2 percent.New Hampshire has the lowest share of population living below the poverty line, 8.5 percent, which is 2.6 times lower than in Mississippi, the highest at 22.3 percent.Utah has the lowest separation & divorce rate, 16.18 percent, which is 1.8 times lower than in the District of Columbia, the highest at 28.63 percent.Utah has the lowest share of adults in fair or poor health, 11.98 percent, which is two times lower than in Arkansas, the highest at 24.44 percent.The District of Columbia has the most psychologists per 100,000 residents, 97, which is 6.9 times more than in Alabama, the fewest at 14.

Beth Dalbey, Patch National Staff, contributed to this article
Photo via Shutterstock

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An Opening Day for baseball, and for Baltimore

We love Opening Day. We love it because, even in bad-news Baltimore, it means we get to shake off the grimy, regrettable past and enjoy a moment of blissful optimism about what comes next.

Everyone gets to indulge the fanciful idea that their team — even those that finished at the bottom last season, like the Orioles — will line up for the national anthem with an equal chance of winning the World Series seven months from now.

That’s the deal with baseball. There is always the possibility of earth-rocking surprise, always the hope that your team, your city, your region will again know the exhilarating madness of an October championship, that beyond-words high that comes with being on top of the world.

For Baltimore, it has been 35 years since the Orioles wore the golden crown, so fans here have learned to keep their expectations in check or risk a broken heart or, worse, the lousy feeling of having been conned.

It’s as if the baseball gods declared those storied Orioles of the past — those gray-and-gone teams the organization keeps commemorating with contrived anniversary celebrations — to be the best Baltimore will ever get, and that we can’t have nice things anymore.

I hear Orioles fans express gratitude that, after 14 losing seasons (1998-2011), we at least have had a team and a manager who, in three of the past six, made things interesting.

But we need better than that. We hope — and on Opening Day, must believe — that 2018 is the year the Orioles, patched together impressively during spring training, could bring a victory parade back to Pratt Street.

It would give Baltimore a huge lift, and not only because of that 35-year drought of championships but because of a three-year rain of bad news.

On April 29, 2015, the Orioles and the White Sox played an afternoon game at Camden Yards with no fans present because of civil unrest two days earlier, following the funeral of Freddie Gray in West Baltimore. “This isn’t the way you want to make history,” first baseman Chris Davis said that day.

The vandalism and fires marked the start of three years of almost unmitigated bad — a surge in shootings that made our city the deadliest, per capita, in the nation; police corruption, in nature and scale, equal to any of Hollywood’s darkest imaginings; violent crimes in neighborhoods that rarely ever saw one; and, stirring our worst fears, more loss in population.

Because of all that — the way it burdens the spirit — it’s hard to remember where we were in the year before Freddie Gray’s death.

We savored a vision of the next Baltimore.

The population had seemed to stabilize and even grow again. We had a mayor who set growth as a goal and made a pitch to immigrant families, in particular, to give Baltimore a try. Harbor Point seemed to pop up overnight, a city within a city. The downtown population grew with the conversion of old office buildings to apartments. We had a new plan, and capital, to improve the public schools. There was hope — perhaps more hope than reality — that new investment, with incentives from the city, would spread to the areas that missed the first Baltimore renaissance along the waterfront. Meanwhile, housing vouchers made possible the movement of low-income families with children to better neighborhoods and the hope of better lives.

In 2014, the Orioles won the American League East and Buck Showalter was AL Manager of the Year.

But the disturbances six months later felt like a sudden and shocking stop. Though limited mostly to the west side, the fires, vandalism and looting affected the whole city and region — if not physically, certainly emotionally. The Orioles and White Sox playing in an empty stadium on a perfect spring day, with the smell of smoke and flowers in the air, marked the moment: A city of potential and promise suddenly considered so lawless and dysfunctional that even our great good place was presumed unsafe.

There have been awakenings (for those who needed them) to the hard realities of festering poverty and hopelessness, the toxic relations between police and people in neighborhoods far from the renaissance, the history of racism and segregation at the root of so many of our problems.

There have been strong efforts, led by the Johns Hopkins institutions, to help the “other Baltimore” at the edges of its reach. And the city is lucky to have so many nonprofits and volunteers working on its long-standing problems — drug addiction, homelessness, illiteracy, joblessness, kids at risk, health inequality — and most of those organizations have been doing quiet, steady good for years.

There have been other setbacks since April 2015 — not just the crime surge, but things within the control of people in power. The Red Line light rail project and the State Center redevelopment were two major endeavors that would have helped the city; killing the Red Line and canceling the State Center deal hurt the recovery immeasurably. Attrition in the police ranks, with resignations and accelerated retirements, complicated the efforts to get crime under control.

The past three years have taken a toll. When the latest population numbers were reported, showing another loss, the first thought was April 2015 and all that flowed from there — the crime, the civic turmoil. A Goucher Poll showed that two-thirds of Marylanders no longer consider the city to be the economic engine of the state, and that’s in part a testimony to the perception that Baltimore is helpless.

Baltimore is not helpless, but it still needs help on a grand scale, the visionary kind that once made possible the stadiums in Camden Yards. Far more than any jurisdiction in the state, Our City of Perpetual Recovery is still affected by huge social and economic changes that go back 50 years, to April 1968, and the time of the riots after the assassination of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. It is still affected by the riots of just three years ago.

But we are still here, most of us, looking for tickets to a kind of Opening Day for Baltimore and a new birth of faith in our city.

We haven’t given up. We are artists and innovators, researchers and thinkers, preachers and gardeners, writers and printers, makers of great events and festivals, teachers and musicians, runners and bicyclists, attorneys and doctors, hotel staff and bus drivers, carpenters and roofers, pastry chefs and short-order cooks, bartenders and waiters, bankers and brokers, security guards and mechanics, cops and firefighters, social workers and nurses, and I could go on, but you get the idea.

There is no surviving, much less thriving, without the region’s embrace of Baltimore. We need you. We need to be all-in.

So, those of you who come to Camden Yards for Opening Day 2018: Please take another look at this city where your grandparents lived, this city your kids find cool, this city of Baltimore-in-the-bones citizens and vigilant activists, this city of incubated startups and enduring businesses, of solid neighborhoods and neighborhoods yearning to be better, this city of old peculiarities and renewed aspirations, this city that has suffered, this city that has worn golden crowns, and will again.

(Josh Land)

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City housing officials to seek up to $100M subsidy for East Baltimore development plan

Baltimore housing officials plan to ask the city to provide a subsidy of $50 million to $100 million for a developer that plans to rebuild a wide swath of East Baltimore, including an overhaul of the public housing complex just north of glitzy Harbor East.

It is the first time such a tax incentive has been considered for an affordable-housing project, housing officials said.

Proponents say the plan will improve housing conditions for tenants of the Perkins Homes, who are mostly poor and black, and help to desegregate the neighborhood. But opponents see it as a way to further gentrify the area that could force longtime residents into other parts of the city.

Peggy Margaret Webster, director of planning and development for the Housing Authority of Baltimore City, said city officials are still analyzing how much in tax-increment financing is needed for the project. She said the subsidy, known as a TIF, will finance the building of public infrastructure to support the public housing complex, including a new school. The request is expected to go before the city’s Board of Finance in April.

“The [subsidy] will pay for the school, roads, sidewalks, sewer and infrastructure,” Webster said. “This is the first time the city has done a TIF with affordable housing.”

The plan — called the Perkins Transformation Project — is a large-scale redevelopment of much of East Baltimore, connecting the wealthier neighborhoods of Fells Point, Harbor Point and Harbor East with Johns Hopkins Hospital’s development efforts.

Key to the revitalization plans are redevelopment at the site of the mostly vacant Old Town Mall and a new mixed-income development at the site of the former Somerset Homes, which were torn down a decade ago.

The Perkins Homes complex, home to roughly 1,400 people in about 630 apartments, sits on 17 acres of prime real estate that is seen as a critical link between the rising development on the harbor, the revitalization effort surrounding Johns Hopkins Hospital and the planned transformation of the long-distressed pedestrian mall.

Housing officials say the dilapidated conditions at Perkins Homes, which have no central air conditioning or washers and dryers in units, are unacceptable. They say they plan to break up the concentrated poverty of public housing by building two separate complexes — each of them with units affordable to residents of various incomes. Plans call for 652 units aimed at very low-income people who qualify for public housing. The Housing Authority would oversee these properties, though the developer would manage them.

An additional 276 homes described as “affordable” are earmarked for tenants earning 60 percent of the area median income; a family of four earning $55,000 would qualify.

And 417 homes would sell at market rate.

“This is about connecting people,” Webster said. “This is a city of lots of boundaries. We’re trying to break those boundaries.”

But opponents say the plan could actually lead to more segregation, not less. They’re concerned Perkins Homes residents could end up moved to the new development at the Somerset Homes site — away from the waterfront and near the city jail — while wealthier, white residents take over the redeveloped Perkins area.

Matt Hill, a housing rights advocate at the Public Justice Center, said he is concerned the city’s plans could cause people to be displaced.

“Are they going to actually provide a meaningful opportunity to return to the same neighborhood?” Hill said. In other redevelopment programs, former residents have faced new background checks for the new apartments that prevented them from returning to their community, he said.

Hill’s also worried the project will, in the end, offer lower income people fewer choices of places to live in Baltimore.

“We’re concerned any time there’s a net loss of public housing units just because of how scarce affordable housing is in this city,” he said.

Housing officials say they’re working to make sure tenants are accommodated. They’ve hired a consultant to work with Perkins Homes residents before the project begins to decide whether they want to stay at the site or leave.

Those who want to leave will have an option of moving to a new complex being built at the site of the former Somerset Homes or using a federal Housing Choice voucher, also known as Section 8, to move elsewhere.

“Our goal is not to relocate anybody out of the neighborhood unless they want to go,” Webster said. “We think we can do it based on the numbers. Our goal is to make sure no student gets relocated out of the school.”

They say the redevelopment plan will decrease segregation, not increase it.

“Every building is mixed income. It’s not segregated,” Webster said.

In addition to a new school building for the students of City Springs Elementary School — most of whom live in public housing — the plan funds bike- and-pedestrian-friendly streets, new CitiWatch surveillance cameras and an anti-violence Safe Streets team at the Old Town Mall site. It also funds a range of services for Perkins residents, including enrolling children in early learning programs.

To support the project, the city and housing agency intend to apply for a $30 million federal grant. As a condition of the federal funding, the city would be required to contribute at least three times the grant amount.

A tax-increment-financing deal in the range of $90 million could help the Housing Authority meet that obligation, officials said.

City officials expect to find out at the end of this month whether the project has made the first cut in the grant process.

Roxanne German, 62, who lives in the Perkins Homes, said the conditions at her apartment are terrible. She said she can’t use her stove and her heating system is broken.

“These places really need to come down,” German said. “A lot of people are getting sick from being in here.”

German said she would like a government rent subsidy to move to a different site — or would be willing to stay at Perkins if the redevelopment is acceptable. She said she’s disappointed plans for an overhaul of the housing complex are taking so long.

“At the tenant meeting yesterday, there was no progress,” she said. “All our hopes and dreams might go down.”

Some opponents are expressing skepticism at the developers involved in the project.

The Housing Authority selected Beatty Development — which is building the $1 billion glittering Harbor Point project to the south of Perkins Homes and redeveloping the Old Town Mall to the north — to lead the team at Perkins.

The Harbor Point project is already benefiting from a $125 million tax-increment-financing deal.

The tax subsidy approach is often controversial because the city issues bonds to give developers up-front cash to support development work. Once completed, the new buildings’ property taxes go toward paying off the city’s project-related debt, instead of to the city’s general fund to pay for things such as schools.

In 2016, after a political battle, the city approved its largest TIF ever — $660 million for Sagamore Development’s Port Covington.

Officials from Beatty Development did not respond to a request for comment.

In addition to Beatty, the city is working on the plan with Mission First Housing Development, a nonprofit affordable housing developer; the Henson Development Co.; and Bank of America.

As a condition of the federal Choice Neighborhoods Initiatives grant, the city would be required to replace every affordable housing unit it demolishes.

If the city gets the grant, housing officials would need to complete the project within six years.

Some City Council members are wary about approving another tax-increment-financing deal, even one that housing officials argue benefits the residents of public housing.

Baltimore City Council President Bernard C. “Jack” Young, said he currently has “no appetite” for a TIF.

“I don’t want to see a segregated community,” Young said. “That’s what it looks like is going to happen down there.”

Even so, Young said he was open to hearing more from both housing officials and Perkins Homes residents about what they want to see at the site.

“I’m all for mixed-income communities, but I don’t want to see gentrification,” Young said. “I’ve always been about a win-win.”

Mayor Catherine Pugh said she is “excited” about the plans.

“Perkins Homes is not going to be just low income, but moderate income and connected to people who are upper income,” Pugh said. “That’s what a city needs to be: Diverse incomes, living in the same area.”

Barbara Samuels, managing attorney for fair housing at the American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland, said she sees an opportunity in the project, but opposes the current plans. She wants to see more affordable housing planned for Baltimore’s majority-white neighborhoods and a plan to desegregate City Springs Elementary School.

“You could be intentional about creating an integrated community and school that begins to break down the barriers between the two Baltimores, but that potential is essentially unrealized in their plan,” Samuels said.

Baltimore Sun reporter Ian Duncan contributed to this article.

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Baltimore’s property tax privileged and punished

The Northwood Plaza shopping center (Algerina Perna / Baltimore Sun)

Everybody wants nice neighbors. Unfortunately for Morgan State University, the property next door is Northwood Plaza, a dilapidated shopping center that includes boarded-up storefronts and abandoned spaces.

“The shopping center has deteriorated to the point where it is the site of serious criminal activity, and it is an eyesore of the highest order,” University President David Wilson testified at a recent Baltimore City Council committee meeting. “It is literally in Morgan’s backyard. Morgan deserves better. We deserve much better than what we see currently in our backyard.”

Of course, residents of the neighborhoods surrounding Northwood Plaza deserve much better too. Like many Baltimoreans, they are adversely affected by dilapidated properties, criminal activity, eyesores and a general lack of access to quality shopping — despite a prime location that seems to make perfect sense for vibrant commercial activity. Northwood Plaza is in the backyard of a university filled with thousands of students and nearby residents who undoubtedly would love easy access to safe hangouts, reputable stores and new job opportunities.

The same frustrating situation exists in many underserved Baltimore communities near other important institutions. One would think that developers and entrepreneurs would be clamoring to fill such obvious needs. And they actually are in the case of Northwood — but in exchange for a sweet deal.

For years now, we’ve heard much about the “two Baltimores,” with the dividing line between them typically identified as race or income. But there is another schism in the city that separates a privileged class from the rest of us: property taxes, and who actually has to pay them.

With the normal real property tax rate at 2.248 percent, a Baltimore City property assessed at $50 million — the price tag for a proposed mixed-use retail and commercial town center on the plaza site, which would be renamed Northwood Commons — slams its owners with an annual bill of $1.124 million. Compare that to an annual bill of $550,000 in Baltimore County, where the tax rate is less than half the city’s.

Moreover, since the personal property tax rate is two and a half times the real property tax rate, business owners in Northwood Commons typically would have to pay a 5.62 percent annual tax on property physically located inside their businesses. Per $100,000 of office equipment or machinery, city businesses pay $5,620 in annual tax versus $2,750 in the county. No wonder Northwood Plaza is in bad shape.

This is life in “Property Tax Punished” Baltimore, where vast tracts of the city suffer from a tax rate that repels much needed investment.

But if developers have the right connections — as, it turns out, the Northwood Commons developers do — then there is a narrow and exclusive path that leads to a “Property Tax Privileged” Baltimore. On Monday the Baltimore City Council voted to support millions of dollars in property tax breaks for the proposed Northwood Commons redevelopment, which is expected to reduce crime, eliminate blight, create jobs, support the university and improve the community.

Once state officials sign off as expected, the blighted shopping center in Morgan State’s backyard will officially be located in a tax break area known as a RISE Zone. And Northwood Commons will rise as $50 million pours into the project, which will receive a generous 80 percent discount in property taxes for five to 10 years. The grand plans include a two-story Barnes & Noble bookstore with a Starbucks, along with the possibility of a grocery store, student apartments, offices and space for campus police.

Sadly, investment dollars will not be pouring into "Property Tax Punished" Baltimore anytime soon. If you are not in a favored area, like a RISE Zone, then rising is virtually prohibited. It is great that Morgan State will finally get the nice neighbor it deserves, but it is a shame that most of Baltimore lacks the right connections.

Until our elected officials decide that the entire city is worthy of privilege in the form of fair and widespread property tax relief, Baltimoreans will be stuck with the dilapidated property next door.

Louis Miserendino is director of the McMullen Scholars Program at Calvert Hall College High School and is a visiting fellow at the Maryland Public Policy Institute. His email is

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