Mary Harvin Senior Center re-opens

Posted at 7:25 PM, Apr 27, 2016

Years of planning and months of work went up in flames on April 27, 2015.  The Mary Harvin Senior Center was about 45 percent built when arsons lit it on fire.

"It's funny, the feeling I felt was determination," said Kevin Bell, Senior Vice President at The Woda Group.  "That's what I felt, I didn't feel anger, I wasn't scared, I just felt determined."

So from the ashes came a plan to rebuild.  The damage was so bad, the foundation and concrete footers underneath had to be dug up before construction could restart.


This time, the center was finished, and 69 days ahead of schedule.  It is up and running exactly one year after it was destroyed.  A grand opening ceremony was held Wednesday to celebrate.

"Today, what was once a symbol of violence and destruction, is now a beacon of hope and an example of the resilience that truly defines the amazing people of this great city," Gov. Larry Hogan said.

The 61-unit affordable senior center is fully leased.  Solomon Selby and his wife Brenda moved in three weeks ago.

"Was a shame that it happened, but out of that chaos came a better place," he said.  "So it's pretty nice, this place is pretty nice."

The Southern Baptist Church will provide all kinds of services to the residents and the folks who live in this area.

But Wednesday was all about shining  a light on the great things that came out of the darkness this time last year.

"This is a celebration of a community, the Broadway East community that was dubbed a neighborhood without hope, yet they refused to give up on themselves," Southern Baptist Church Senior Pastor, Dr. Donte Hickman said.

During the unrest, more then 400 businesses were damaged or looted.  The Baltimore Development Corporation says most have reopened.