Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake hosted the second Crime and Grime Walk in the Park Heights community on Wednesday, December 2, 2015 – just six months after her previous walk-through in Northwest Baltimore. Last time, the mayor visited Renaissance Gardens, the new 62-and-over, income-restricted residential community. This time, Mayor Rawlings-Blake walked through portions of Park Circle, specifically the 3600 block of Reisterstown Road, Springhill Avenue and Ulman Avenue.
On the tour, the Mayor was accompanied by Baltimore Police Commissioner Kevin Davis, her administrative staff and representatives of Park Heights Renaissance. The Mayor’s support staff included Julie Day, Deputy Housing Commissioner for Land Resources; Brian Kemmet, her Northwest Community Liaison; Tywanda Cooper Miller, chief of staff for District 6 Councilwoman Sharon Green Middleton, and Gus Augustus, Jr., Director of the Mayor’s Office of Neighborhoods.
Park Heights Renaissance’s Community Organizer Kaleema Breathett took the lead in putting together this event. She accompanied the Mayor in the walk-through, as did the Executive Director of Park Heights Renaissance, Cheo Hurley; PHR’s Director of Community and Human Services, R.A. Mills, and PHR’s Housing Coordinator and resident of Park Heights, Karen Gary.
“We know there’s a direct connection between crime and grime in many of our communities, ” said Mayor Rawlings-Blake to ABC 2 News cameras. ” I get to see first hand the concerns that they have with members of my administration.”
Park Circle residents have voiced a multitude of complaints regarding vacant buildings, illegal dumping of trash, and illegal parking taking place in their neighborhood. With the help of Park Heights Renaissance team members, the community was able to gain the attention of the Mayor and her staff as they toured neighborhood streets and saw for themselves exactly what needed to be corrected.
“I can remember when the Park Circle corridor was filled with fruit trees…there was not any vacant/abandoned houses or trash within the community. The neighborhood was vibrant and pregnant with possibility.” said Karen Gary, a long time resident of the Park Heights community. ” I would like to see Park Circle and the Park Heights corridors return to that level of robustness.”
As a result of the Mayor’s Crime and Grime Walk in Park Circle, the city’s Department of Public Works has already removed illegal trash that was dumped throughout the neighborhood. Vacant homes on those blocks have been boarded up. And there has been a noticeably stronger police presence in Park Circle.
“It’s always exciting when the Mayor visits Park Heights’ neighborhoods,” said PHR Executive Director Cheo Hurley. “What’s especially gratifying is to see that her walk-through led to prompt action by the city to remove trash, board up vacant eye-sores and improve the safety of Park Circle streets.”
Click here to see video footage of the Mayor’s walk.