Building and Strengthening Neighborhoods and People

Barclay is on the Move!

With the support and dedication of Lottie Sneed, GHCC’s Barclay Community Builder, residents in the Barclay neighborhood continue to make strides in building and stronger, and more beautiful, community.

Barclay residents receive a Spruce Up grant on May 9th

Barclay residents with GHCC’s Lottie Sneed receive a Spruce Up grant on May 9th

The Bold, Beautiful, and Brilliant Barclay team was awarded a $21,000 Spruce Up Grant for beautification and greening of the Barclay neighborhood.  The team, composed of old and new residents, worked diligently to propose a vision that would send a message of community pride to neighborhood visitors. You may recall from our past post Barclay Green Efforts in Full Gear that community residents had already begun working on  flower gardens and greening spaces at 20th and Guilford as well as 24th and Barclay Streets. These new funds will help residents complete these projects as well as support the implementation of  trees and tree wells will be and the completion of an orchard.  Moreover, boarded up properties will receive paint and art design and there will be community outreach and support to reduce trash on the streets with strategically placed trash cans.  We will have a busy summer – come out and join us.

Planting Trees in Barclay

It may feel chilly (or downright cold!) outside today, and you may find it hard to imagine yourself enjoying the outdoors, but only a month ago the sun was shining on a group of volunteers who were just delighted to be out planting new trees in the Barclay neighborhood. Telesis Corporation, along with a multitude of community partners, led a tree planting in Calvert Street Park on November 13. Annie Jamieson, a project manager with Telesis, was kind enough to send us some thoughts on her experience planting trees in Barclay.

What is your position with Telesis? Can you briefly describe Telesis’ relationship with the Barclay neighborhood?
I’ve been a project manager at Telesis Corporation for the past year. In addition to Baltimore, I’m working on affordable housing projects in Pittsburgh, PA and Newark, NJ.
In January 2006, Telesis was selected by Baltimore Housing and members of the community to lead the revitalization effort for the Barclay/Old Goucher neighborhood. Since then, Telesis has participated in an extensive planning process with community residents, neighborhood organizations, local developers, social service providers, city officials, local foundations, and potential funding partners. Telesis’ vision for Barclay is a stable, healthy, safe, equitable, and livable neighborhood with quality open spaces, community facilities, and employment opportunities.
In June 2010, we began construction on the first phase of the redevelopment plan. This phase includes 72 rental units, eight of which overlook Calvert Street Park; and 30-35 homeownership units, the first 20 of which are directly adjacent to or just to the north of the park.

Why was this tree planting important to Telesis?

Beginning in 2006, the Neighborhood Design Center (NDC) and Landscape Architect Liling Tien of Pela Design worked with community residents and groups to create a landscape design for Calvert Street Park. The park is a focal point in the neighborhood and offers an exceptional opportunity to realize many of our redevelopment goals while creating a beautiful environment for residents.
While Telesis is, at its core, a housing developer, we believe a successful and stable community includes not only housing, but beautiful streetscapes and places for residents to enjoy the outdoors. Utilizing the NDC design to plant trees in the park and nearby street tree pits was a simple way to make a great impact in the neighborhood.
Planting new trees not only increases the neighborhood’s tree canopy, but aids in storm-water management, creates a healthier living environment, provides opportunities for local residents to get involved, and answers the community’s desire to improve the park.

How many trees did you plant, and where? Who participated?
We planted a total of 39 native trees in Calvert Street Park and empty street pits in the blocks surrounding the park.
In addition to planting new trees, neighborhood children planted 60 bulbs in the park with the help of our landscape architect, Sharon Bradley. Our contractor, Southway Builders, Inc. also donated their time and removed three invasive shrubs in the park.
15 Cub Scouts from Pack 725 and their parents, community residents, TreeBaltimore, Neighborhood Design Center, GHCC, and Telesis all came out to volunteer.
Photo montage assembled by Lowell Larson

Besides just planting trees, what do you think you accomplished this weekend?
While it’s clear that the new trees make Barclay more beautiful, what is most important is that the community was involved. While Telesis and our partners continue to revitalize this neighborhood, small accomplishments along the way, like planting trees, signify progress and growth and let the community see firsthand how their neighborhood is transforming.
In an urban environment, where most children do not have regular access to back yards and playing fields, it was wonderful to see children outside using shovels and wheelbarrows on a beautiful fall day. Neighborhood children learned the difference between soil and mulch, how to plant daffodil bulbs, and helped to dig holes for trees they can watch grow over the years.
Street trees were planted and quickly watered by eager residents who filled up buckets from their kitchens. Residents promised to water and look after the new trees on their blocks. One store owner came out of his café, extremely happy that new trees would soon grace his sidewalk, and thanked us and agreed to water the trees.
The simple “thank yous” and promises to care for the trees brought the neighborhood together and fostered a sense of community pride.

What did you feel best about at the end of the day?
At the end of the day, I felt best about the fact that the children from this urban community got to experience planting a tree. Standing on top of the mulch pile, shovel in hand, one child said, “My mom is going to be so proud of me. I’ve never planted a tree and I’ve never done community service before.” The children finished the day with dirty hands and jeans and learned all about trees—why their roots need room to grow, why we needed to add compost and why mulch should not touch the tree trunk. It was great to know that we had exposed the children to something new that they could return to and take pride in after many years.

How much time had you spent in Barclay before the tree planting? Did you learn anything new about the neighborhood while you were planting trees this weekend?
My time in the Barclay neighborhood was pretty limited before the tree planting. I worked for Telesis from 2006-2007 and took part in the first community design meeting. That was a powerful event because the community really had the chance to think about how they could have a voice in the neighborhood transformation. Now that I’m back at Telesis, I’ve been to the neighborhood to photograph our properties and attend our groundbreaking ceremony this past June.
It’s always good to be in the neighborhood—it’s a very welcoming place!

Any other thoughts you’d like to share?
I’d like to thank many of the people and organizations who helped make this event successful: Hieu Truong from the Chesapeake Bay Trust, Kristen Humphrey from the Neighborhood Design Center, Liling Tien from P.E.L.A Design, Inc., Greater Homewood Community Corporation, Anne Draddy and Charlie Murphy from TreeBaltimore, Sharon Bradley from Bradley Site Design, Inc., Peter Merles from Midtown Community Benefits District, Southway Builders, Inc., Tree-Mendous Maryland, Hollins Organic Products, Inc., Charles Village Community Benefits District, Cub Scout Pack 725 and their families, and all the community members!
A special thank you is also in order for Peter Duvall of GHCC who put an incredible amount of time and effort into this community event!

Take the Baltimore Neighborhood Energy Challenge!

Ever wondered how you could reduce your monthly energy bill?  Today we learned about a great new program called the Baltimore Neighborhood Energy Challenge (BNEC).  Although Roland Park is the only target neighborhood in Greater Homewood right now (others include Reservoir Hill, Greater Lauraville, C.A.R.E., Park Heights, Fulton Avenue, Mount Washington, and Ten Hills), anyone can start using the BNEC website to plan energy-saving projects in their home.  

The BNEC is a nine-month pilot program of the Baltimore Office of Sustainability and the Baltimore Community Foundation.  The goal is for residents of these neighborhoods to share knowledge and motivation to conserve energy and money.  Target neighborhood residents who register on the website receive a free pledge kit and can connect with their neighbors and access their BGE information on the BNEC website.

Even if you don’t live in a target neighborhood, it’s fast and simple to enter your address, verify a few details about your home, and start saving a list of projects to increase your energy efficiency.

To see how you can reduce your carbon footprint, save money, and help create a more sustainable Baltimore, check out BNEC’s website and take the pledge!

Block Project Report: Richnor Recycles!

Written by Sam Chalfant

Not only was last Saturday the first official day of summer for Baltimore City Public School Students, it was the Richnor Springs Neighborhood Association’s summer kick-off block party.

This summer’s block party had a special theme: Richnor Recycles! As many Baltimoreans know, the city begins to operate under a One-Plus-One waste pickup system on the 14th of July. Under this new system, garbage will only be picked up once per week instead of two times per week and recycling will be picked up once a week instead of once every two weeks.

Richnor Springs wants to make sure their community is ahead of the game as Baltimore City makes this transition. The neighborhood association utilized grant money provided by the Greater Homewood Community Corporation Block Project Grant and a Cleaner Greener Baltimore Recycle More grant to address the need for increased recycling at this year’s block party. At the event, 40 lucky residents were presented with free recycling bins to assure that they are ready for July 14th. In addition to free bins, Tonya Simmons, Recycling Coordinator for the Department of Public Works was on hand to speak about the new One-Plus-One system and field questions from community members. Ms. Simmons’ knowledge of the new system proved invaluable as residents were able to learn all about the why, what, where, and when of One-Plus-One.

All the standard fun that accompanies a neighborhood block party was also on display last Saturday. Two barbecue grills pumped out toasty hot dogs for all. The kids (as well as some adults) got sugar overloads from fruity ice pops. Residents of Richnor Springs enjoyed the opportunity to socialize with each other and listen to music and, despite forecasts to the contrary, the seemingly constant rain of the past month was nowhere to be seen on Saturday. Kudos to Richnor Springs for hosting such a fun and informative event!

A Fifth Grader Reacts to Guilford Elementary/Middle School’s Tree Planting

Written by Michelle Beverly, 5th Grade Student, Guilford Elementary/Middle School.

On Friday, April 24, all 5th graders enjoyed planting the trees. I have heard from many 5th graders that they loved the activity. This is what we did: first, we saw how big the tree [to be planted] was. Then, we dug a hole big enough to plant the tree. I found over 100 worms, so I put some back to help the tree grow. I also asked [my classmates], was it fun at the time? They said yes. By the time we finished our first tree we moved on. Mr. Sam needed some help with five more trees. Mr. Sam asked if I could round them up and of course I said yes. I got all the 5th graders to come on over and help me finish, but there was one tree we forgot. But bad news, we had to go and we couldn’t plant the other tree — I was a little upset about having to go but really planting the trees was worth it because it made Guilford School a beautiful place, so thank you!