Baltimore RENEW wants vacant buildings gone

Posted at 10:04 PM, May 09, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-10 15:15:55-04

Baltimore RENEW met Monday night to discuss plans and make goals about removing vacant properties from Baltimore City.

RENEW stands for Residents Engaged in Neighborhood Empowerment and Well-Being. The mission of the group is to unite Baltimore City residents in an effort to eliminate vacant properties across the area.

"Why keep a vacant house up when you could take it down and create green space, which is much more relaxing and comfortable and less threatening," said Joyce Smith, a member of RENEW who represents the Southwest sector of the city.

At Monday's meeting, the group heard from representatives of several agencies across the city, including the Police Department, the Fire Department, Housing Code Enforcement, the Department of Public Works, the Office of Planning, and the Office of Sustainability.

RENEW also set some short and long term goals. The group wants to publicize the issue of vacant buildings and the work the organization is doing to remove them. Members also want to research and target people who own several vacant properties across the city.

"RENEW is showing that we want to have an active vote." Joyce said. "As residents, we get tired of looking at all the negative reports as if no one gives a who. We do care. And that's why the name of the group is RENEW -- we are renewing what folks see every day."