BALTIMORE — Turning back the clock here in the 800 block of Harlem Avenue in the Upton community where once-majestic rowhomes are being restored to their former selves.
“These blighted homes in the 800 blocks of Harlem and Edmondson have been vacant for over 20 years and have been through several stalled development projects,” said Upton Planning Committee Board Chairman Darroll Cribb.
At times, it seemed like restoring three dozen city-owned vacants and that many more identified by the community’s planning committee would never happen, but now the first five have been completed.
“I’ve been on this council for seven years now,” said City Councilman Eric Costello. “And I can tell you if you told me seven years ago that we were going to find on the 800 blocks of Harlem and Edmondson to sell a home for $300,000 at market rate and across the street, find a way to subsidize a way to get a family in who could only afford $200,000, I would have told you that you’re bat**** crazy.”
That’s how some may have viewed Valerie Lewis when she decided buy the very first one.
“My family was a little bit skeptical, because this neighborhood did have a reputation, and I’m a single person by myself so they were a little frightened for me,” said Lewis.
Now, Lewis can look at growing generational wealth in a neighborhood where the chance of building equity is returning for the first time in decades, and where her memories of childhood were built on a strong foundation.
“Just knowing that the people next door to you are interested in you and interested in your well-being, just as you are interested in them,” said Lewis. “And that’s the kind of community environment I wanted to create or be able to be a part of.”
To qualify to purchase one of the homes, you have to have lived in the neighborhood or still live there and be able to handle the mortgage.
For more information, you can contact the Upton Planning Committee’s Community Development Corporation