Baltimore City Website
The Rawlings-Blake Review
In This Issue
Veterans Day Closures
War of 1812 Star-Spangled Bicentennial Survey
Susan G. Komen for the Cure Grant Funding
National Dialogue on Green & Healthy Homes
TreeBaltimore Tree Giveaway
Healthy Homes Expo
Animal Cruelty Prevention Class
Graphite on Paper
Give Thanks to Nature
Come Plant a Tree!
Soup 'n' Walk Series
How to Pay for College
Renters in Foreclosure Workshops


Dear Friends:  


Yesterday, I joined Baltimore Housing Commissioner Paul Graziano to announce Vacants to Value, a new plan to reduce vacant housing and blight in Baltimore. As a result of one of the largest percentage declines in population among major U.S. cities from 1950 to 2000, Baltimore is now challenged with approximately 16,000 vacant buildings, roughly 25% of which are city owned. Reductions in crime and improved public schools have made it more attractive, in recent years, for families to relocate to and remain in Baltimore. City government must do everything it can to spur growth and reinvestment by:

  • Streamlining the sale of vacant city property.
  • Strengthening code enforcement efforts in transitional blocks and emerging markets to promote rehabilitation.
  • Providing new, targeted incentives for homebuyers and developers who invest in vacant homes. The package of incentives includes a new $5,000 forgivable loan program for City Police, Firefighters, and Teachers who purchase or rehabilitate vacant homes.

The 6-point strategy is projected to cut the transactional time of selling city property by two-thirds, increase the number of vacant city properties sold, and commence the rehabilitation of more than a thousand vacant buildings within first year of the program.


City Government will get its own house in order so that we can efficiently dispose of City-owned property and get it into the hands of those both willing and able to renovate and invest. We have totally restructured Baltimore Housing, including a new Deputy Commissioner for Land Resources and a newly-hired team of experienced real estate marketing professionals. The team will launch a new website to help market and sell vacant city property more effectively.


We also approved new policy reforms including a new uniform appraisal policy, a new sale by live auction process, consolidation of property inventory into one agency, and an expedited lien abatement process. Taken together, the policy reforms are expected to reduce transactional time by at least two-thirds. Markets and investors need and deserve more transparency and predictability with these transactions. With these new policies in place, they will have it.


We have improved code enforcement efforts on "Transitional Blocks," areas that are mostly occupied but challenged by a number of scattered vacant structures. Of the 16,000 vacant buildings in Baltimore, almost a third are located in these areas according to a Baltimore Housing market analysis. Baltimore Housing will implement an automated enforcement regime issuing $900 fines to promote rehabilitation of vacant structures. This new code enforcement regime will pressure absentee landowners and speculators to do a cost/benefit analysis and either reinvest in their properties to avoid more fines or sell them to someone who will.


We have created a new package of targeted incentives for homeowners and developers who renovate vacant properties, including an allocation of $500,000 to a new incentive called the Good Neighbors Program, which provides a $5,000 five-year forgivable loan for 100 City Police Officers, Firefighters, and Teachers who purchase a vacant property in Baltimore. Additionally, Baltimore Housing has packaged four more homebuyer incentives, totaling roughly $1 million, for individuals who purchase vacant or newly-rehabilitated homes. In total, the programs will provide up to 300 homebuyers a real, tangible incentive to invest in Baltimore.


My administration will continue to support large-scale redevelopment efforts in very distressed areas without current market demand. This is a strategy where smart planning, government intervention, and private/public partnerships are absolutely necessary. In areas where the scale of blight far exceeds development demand for housing for the foreseeable future, Baltimore Housing will focus on maintaining, clearing and holding-or "land banking"-vacant property for future use. The strategy includes targeted demolition, boarding and cleaning, and creative interim uses including creating new community green space.


This is the beginning of a new effort, not the end. I welcome new ideas and tactics that will support this overall strategy going forward. In the coming weeks, we will announce a Vacants to Value summit, with national experts in urban housing issues to solicit feedback and engage the community and private sector partners interested in working with the City to reduce blight.


The simple truth is that urban blight in Baltimore is a problem of too much supply and not enough demand. That's why the 6-point plan to address blight recognizes and respects the role of the marketplace, and ensures that City Government is positioned to facilitate and drive targeted reinvestment.


To learn more about the plan visit:


Download the detailed presentation here:


If you have any questions or concerns, please contact me at my website or by email at You can also follow the Mayor's Office and be a part of the conversation on Twitter.


Stephanie Rawlings-Blake
Mayor, City of Baltimore
Special Notices

Veterans Day Closures

City offices will be closed Veterans Day, Thursday, November 11, 2010. Please note:

  • Trash and recycling will not be collected. Saturday, November 13 will be the make up day for collection in those areas regularly scheduled for Tuesday collection.
  • No bulk trash collection will be scheduled for November 11, and citizen drop-off centers will be closed.
  • Parking meters will be in effect.
  • Emergency services will remain active.

War of 1812 Star-Spangled Bicentennial Survey

If you, or an organization you are associated with, are interested in helping make Baltimore's War of 1812 bicentennial celebration a success, please fill out this simple survey. The purpose of the survey is to gather information on individuals and organizations willing to plan events, programs, or performances for to the War of 1812 Bicentennial from 2012 to 2015. To complete the online survey go to
Susan G. Komen for the Cure Grant Funding
The Maryland Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure is proud to announce its Request for Applications (RFA) for grant funding in 2011-12.  Grants will support collaborative and innovative programs to reduce breast cancer disparities and mortality across Maryland.  Nonprofit organizations, governmental agencies, and educational institutions in Maryland, with the exception of Prince George's and Montgomery counties, are eligible to apply.  For more information or to sign-up for a free grant writing workshop, visit or call 410-938-8990. Applications are due by November 15, 2010.
Upcoming Events

National Dialogue on Green & Healthy Homes

Thursday, November 4-Sunday, November 21

The Green and Healthy Homes Initiative (GHHI) and the National Academy of Public Administration are partnering on a new online dialogue to identify ways to overcome the barriers that prevent children, families, and communities from having healthy, safe, and energy efficient housing. You are invited to participate in this important Dialogue. This web-based conversation will engage the green and healthy homes community in an open dialogue to discuss challenges, generate innovative ideas, and recommend ways to improve policy integration. To sign up and learn more, visit

TreeBaltimore Tree Giveaway

Saturday, November 6, 9:00 am- 12:00 pm

City College High School, 3220 The Alameda

Join TreeBaltimore for a Free tree giveaway. Free trees and information on how to properly plant them will be available for City residents. For more information, call 443-984-4058.

Healthy Homes Expo

Saturday, November 6, 10:00 am-2:00 pm

Health & Human Services, 2601 W. North Avenue

Healthy homes need healthy homeowners. Coppin Heights Community Development Corporation and Helene Fuld School of Nursing Community Health Center present this expo. Gain information on homeownership and finances. Receive free health screenings, presentations from BGE, and credit score check-ups.  For more information, call Coppin Heights CDC at 410-951-3622.

Animal Cruelty Prevention Class

Saturday, November 6, 12:00 pm-2:00 pm

Carrie Murray Nature Center, 1901 Ridgetop Road

This program will cover topics including which animals make good pets and which do not, how to spot the signs of animal abuse, what to do if you see or suspect animal abuse, and why it's important to care for and about animals. Warning, this class contains graphic material. Cost is $4 for adults and $2 for children 5 and under. Please pre-register. For more information, or to register, call 410-396-0808.
Graphite on Paper
November 12-December 31, Wednesday-Saturday, 12:00pm-6:00 pm
School 33 Art Center, Main Gallery, 1427 Light Street
During this group exhibition, regional artists employ graphite on paper as their primary media.  The exhibit is a celebration of drawing.  Since this show is using Graphite on Paper as its thematic current, preliminary drawings, sketchbooks, doodles as well as refined and "finished" works will be included.
Visit for more information.

Give Thanks To Nature

Saturday, November 13, 12:00 pm-2:00 pm

Carrie Murray Nature Center, 1901 Ridgetop Road

In honor of Thanksgiving, come learn what part nature plays in the celebration. What would your Thanksgiving table look like without it? Cost is $4 for adults, $2 for children 5 and under. Please pre-register. For more information or to register, call 410-396-0808.

Come Plant A Tree!

Saturday, November 13, 9:00 am-12:00 pm

Calvert Street Park, 2200 Block of N. Calvert Street

You are invited to plant trees generously donated by TreeBaltimore. Free trees and information on how to properly plant them will also be available for City residents. For more information, please contact Daniel Zwick at or 443-650-8278, or call 443-650-8278.

Soup 'n' Walk Series: Bark, Berries, and Buds

Sunday, November 14, 11:00 am-1:30 pm

Cylburn Arboretum, 4915 Greenspring Avenue

Discover the gardens and woodland trails at Cylburn Arboretum. Join a Naturalist for a guided walk, followed by soup and salad prepared by Atwater's. Tree identification will be the focus of this walk. See oak, dogwood, persimmon, beech, big leaf magnolia, spicebush, lacebark elm, maple, birch, and more. Pre-registration is required for each walk. For more information, call 410-367-2217.

How to Pay for College

Monday, November 15, 5:00 pm-8:00 pm

Enoch Pratt Free Library Central Branch, 400 Cathedral Street

Congressman Elijah E. Cummings hosts this 14th annual "How to Pay for College" seminar. Learn about higher education opportunities and financial assistance programs. This free seminar includes a financial aid panel and the opportunity to meet with representatives from colleges, universities, and scholarship programs. For more information, call 410-685-9199.

Renters in Foreclosure Workshops

Tuesday, November 16, 6:00 pm (please RSVP by November 10th)

Tuesday, December 14, 6:00 pm (please RSVP by December 8th)

Public Justice Center, 1 North Charles Street, Suite 200

These two free workshops are designed to help tenants whose landlords are in foreclosure. Attendees will receive detailed information regarding their rights as tenants throughout the course of a foreclosure, as well as one-on-one consultations with Public Justice Center attorneys and paralegals. Attendees should bring any lease, notices, or other case documents about the foreclosure with them. To RSVP, please call either Erin Barrett or Nora Mahlberg at (410) 625-9409.