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Proposed state bill would let Baltimore County revitalize Woodlawn area

Crime scene tape around Security Square Mall during July 2021 police-involved shooting
Posted at 2:27 PM, Mar 11, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-11 14:27:48-05

WOODLAWN, Md. — What's next for Woodlawn, especially the struggling Security Square Mall?

A new state bill could put government money toward revitalizing the entire community.

Senate Bill 557 would let Baltimore County leaders create a "West Baltimore County Redevelopment Authority" that could buy and redevelop properties in the general Woodlawn area - some of which are "considered slum or blighted areas." A discussion on the bill is scheduled for Monday, March 14, in the General Assembly.

Last summer, the Randallstown NAACP announced a task force to revitalize the 50-year-old Security Square Mall in particular.

"Security Square Mall has been in decline since JCPenneys, Bennigans and IHOP closed in the early 2000s. There is one vacant anchor store that was once Sears. Bennigans and IHOP have been vacant for 20 years and have become an eyesore. Numerous code violations including trash, potholes, illegally parked cars and track trailers plague the appearance of the mall," the NAACP wrote in a press release at the time.

The mall has seen a handful of serious violent incidents recently. A murder suspect shot two detectives in the parking lot, before they killed him, last July. Another suspect crashed into the mall doors trying to (unsuccessfully) steal an ATM, last October.

Other recent crimes in the area include a shootout with police and an armed-robbery suspect, a daytime shooting that killed a woman in the Burger King parking lot, a murder outside BJ Mallards bar, and a shooting near the Route 40 corridor.

County Executive Johnny Olszewski said in a statement at the time: “We look forward to working with the Task Force on the Revitalization of Security Square Mall, because we know that it can thrive as a world class shopping center and community hub, and we look forward to continuing our work with the community to revitalize this important regional anchor.”

The new state bill would include the area between Liberty Road, Baltimore National Pike, Rolling Road and the city/county line under the proposed "West Baltimore County Redevelopment Authority."