BALTIMORE — A Baltimore faith-based community leader said they’re looking to redevelop part of one of the most dangerous areas in West Baltimore.
Pastor Rodney Hudson, from Ames Memorial United Methodist Church, said that thanks to a huge donation from Northeastern supply company, community leaders now have three buildings to develop that will bring new jobs and shelter to people in the Sandtown-Winchester Community.
“There are no jobs here. We only have corner stores,” Pastor Hudson said.
Pastor Hudson said that while trying to buy a lot in Sandtown across the street from his congregation, the Northeastern supply company, who owned the lot, gifted it to them, along with three warehouse buildings, totaling around 36,000 square feet.
“The value of the property is $2.5 million, so we’re excited about how we can leverage this property to bring new jobs for our community here,” Pastor Hudson said.
One of the properties sit on Pennsylvania Avenue, from Baker, half way down the block to Cumberland Street.
The two other buildings, and a large lot, sit on the corner of Baker and North Carey streets.
Pastor Hudson, and other church leaders, including Van Beall, said they want to use the buildings to bring jobs, provide shelter and help educate and mentor youth.
“It’s a blank slate because the expansion of the property gave us so many more opportunities to dream,” Beall said.
“Senior housing it will be one of the objectives to get nice places for our seniors to live. This project is major and that’s why we’re doing this because we want our people to have a better quality of life,” Hudson said.
And ultimately, community leaders want people who live in the community to make the final decisions as to what they would like to see in their neighborhood.
Pastor Hudson said the Sandtown-Winchester area in Baltimore is historically known for many things, both positive and negative.
“This is one of the highest murder areas in the City of Baltimore," Pastor Hudson said. "Just in that alley, it was somebody killed there. About maybe a week ago, right down this alley, a lady was raped. You get to Pennsylvania North Avenue, it’s an open air drug market. The police sit on one corner, the drug dealers on the other side of the corner."
Pastor Hudson said their mission is to positively influence the community, especially the youth, in a way that restores hope and change for future generations to come.
“This would definitely boost our ability to build character and education among our young people, to share with them that there is a way to settle conflict without restoring to violence,” Pastor Hudson said.
Organizers said on May 25, they will host a community event at noon in front of the Wall of Pride near the corner of Carey and Baker streets. That’s where people who live around there can give their input about what they would like to see developed in the community.
The Northeastern Supply Company, which donated the property, said they donated it because they knew about the work Ames United Methodist was already doing and they wanted to help enrich the lives of the Sand town residents.