With just a gentle push, a generation of memories went up in the dust of old mortar and tumbled into a pile of bricks.
For Deborah Sherman, it was a memory she needed to touch and feel all over again as she was quick to grab a brick from demolished row home on N. Chester Street in East Baltimore.
"I had to have one,” Sherman said. “Because it just means everything to me...everything."
It brought Sherman to tears not because of what was, but for what this block in Broadway East had become.
This is her neighborhood and to see a row of blight, dis-investment and decay make way for something new was just about all she could take on a cold Friday morning.
“I. Can't. Help. It. It is memories. True memories. Tears of joy, yes it is," she said.
Because this demolition on this block is the latest location for Project C.O.R.E., part of the $100 million the state is investing in Baltimore to knock down the rows of blighted housing stock to make way for re-development.
"We're very excited,” Gov. Larry Hogan told a crush of reporters. “We are seeing real development opportunities and the state working in great partnership with the city to transform some of these communities that really need it."
Beyond the demolition is the $600 million in loans to help develop the new lots into what these communities want and need; real investment to combat a generation of dis-investment.
"Things that every neighborhood and community are used to. We want the same in every part of our city so we are grateful for the investment but more importantly the commitment of all of the folks in the city, the ones who live in this neighborhood, the people who stayed in this neighborhood," Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh said.
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People like Deborah Sherman; this was her corner store, her neighborhood.
She watching, praying…hopeful in the demolition of despair.
"This neighborhood will be revitalized like it was when I was growing up and even better. That's my hope...and my prayer," Sherman said.
Project C.O.R.E. started last year.
It is $100 million invested over five years to demolish blight in Baltimore City.
According to the state, it has already knocked down about a thousand vacant homes in Baltimore so far.
The 1700 block on N. Chester Street in Broadway East should be completed in March.