Displace Derelects to Develop Downtown?: 4Dism sweeps Baltimore,

Tom Boland (wgcp@earthlink.net)
Mon, 19 Apr 1999 10:54:21 -0700 (PDT)

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Are homeless and poor people welcome in downtown business districts where
you live?  See related article below:

FWD  Baltimore Business Journal - 1999-04-05


     Health Care for the Homeless
     counts on historical designation to stay put

     Ben Werner - Staff

Officials at Health Care for the Homeless, a nonprofit group that offers
free care to Baltimore's street people, are hoping the costly prospect of a
court fight between city and state agencies will save their building from
the wrecking ball.

Located at 111 Park Ave., Health Care for the Homeless is on the eastern
border of the 20-plus-block area on the west side of downtown that is
slated for massive redevelopment. The city plans to acquire or condemn 127
buildings and properties in the area to make way for new apartments,
offices and stores.

Store owners in the area are trying to fight their displacement. The
building housing Health Care for the Homeless, however, is the only one of
these properties that is in an historic easement held by the state of
Maryland. That alone may hold up the group's ouster.

Officials at Health Care for the Homeless are hoping their building's
easement will be seen as an obstacle not worth negotiating.

Doris Trainor, chairman of the board at Health Care for the Homeless, said
she is hoping the city will back off from its plan to take over its
building, and is calling on state officials for help.

State Sen. Barbara A. Hoffman, D-Baltimore, said the legislature, through a
bond bill several years ago, gave Health Care for the Homeless $300,000 to
make some capital improvements to its building.

In a letter sent to Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke, Hoffman explains how the state
is not going to simply let the city tear down its investment in the

The building, first used as a trolley station, then a bank, was placed in a
perpetual historical easement held by the Maryland Historic Trust, which
means that no changes can be made to the property without the trust's
approval, said Michael Bourne, the trust's easement administrator.

Bourne said the trust's executive director, Rodney Little, would probably
not approve demolishing a building that is a good example of both the
Colonial revival and art-deco architectural styles.

Also, a state-held easement should supersede a Baltimore City Council
decision, he said. But he expects it could take a court ruling to decide.

Meanwhile, M. J. "Jay" Brodie, president of the Baltimore Development
Corp., said the City Council is considering a few options to smooth things
over between the city and state in regards to Health Care for the
Homeless's fate.

One proposal would transfer ownership of the building to the Baltimore
Development Corp., which would agree to wait three years before proposing
any changes to the Health Care for the Homeless building. During this time,
the city would decide whether or not Health Care for the Homeless should
stay at its current location.

Though Brodie said this proposal would not hinder the west-side
redevelopment plan, state and Health Care for the Homeless officials do not
appear interested in relinquishing control of the building. Hoffman said
she does not want to see Health Care for the Homeless evicted just because
the service does not fit in with the new west-side plan.

"We believe we have something to add to this community," said Kevin
Lindamood, community relations coordinator for Health Care for the
Homeless. "And moving our business away is not going to move the homeless


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