The Greektown CDC Office
The Greektown CDC continues with its mission: "To develop and maintain an action plan that builds on the assets of the community; to bring about a stronger, cleaner, and safer neighborhood; and to create a fun place to live, work and play." By following our Strategic Plan Volume III and through our partnerships with neighborhood stakeholders, we have been able to keep the Greektown community one of the most vibrant neighborhoods in Baltimore City.
Our strategies have focused on Fundraising, Quality of Life, Economic Development, Human Development, Marketing, Housing Development and Cultural Diversity.
Fundraising – The Greektown CDC had made fundraising a priority in 2011. We have aggressively pursued grant opportunities, initiated fundraising campaigns and requested funding from the private sector. We have embarked on a fundraising campaign from Greektown CDC board members. The CDC has also been successful in the past receiving funding from private developers and the Baltimore business community. We have been awarded a $25,000 matching grant opportunity from a major Baltimore based foundation, with a matching component. We continue to receive grant funding from the Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Campus.
The Greektown CDC maintains a significant effort in the Quality of Life issues affecting Greektown. Our services focus extensively on crime and grime, code violations and land use issues that directly impact the residents and visitors to our community. We conduct daily canvases of the neighborhood and coordinate with Baltimore City housing code enforcement and the Baltimore City Police Department to abate nuisance problems. In 2011, 466 Housing Code Citations were issued in the Greektown community. The CDC office receives dozens of weekly complaints and issues for illegal dumping, nuisance homes, problem businesses and many more. We continue to be one of the lowest crime communities in the City. We maintain an extensive network of relationships that keep us effective in solving neighborhood issues in a timely factor.
We have authored numerous letters and attended many Liquor Board hearings on behalf of the community to represent a position on liquor establishments that impact the community. We have attended several Zoning and Appeals hearings. We conducted 4 neighborhood wide community forums to discuss programs of the CDC and hosted 12 committee meetings. The CDC has conducted 200 neighborhood canvases.
Greektown continues to maintain a very low Part 1 crime rate, due to our daily cooperation with the Southeastern Police District. In 2011, Greektown had a lower crime incident rate than our two comparable neighborhoods; Canton and McElderry Park.
Our Economic Development program continues to focus on supporting the large scale commercial development opportunities. As indicated by our Greektown-Highlandtown Redline Charrette in 2010, the proposed MTA station on Haven Street and Eastern Avenue could provide a tremendous asset for a Transit Oriented Development (TOD) which will have a positive impact on our existing business district. New discussions on a Lombard and Oldham Street station would also help develop a struggling area of our community. We have remained steadfast on ensuring our vision is not derailed due to engineering complications or lack of investment planning from local and state agencies. The Pemco property remained a priority in 2011 and we have been successful in opposing repeated efforts to develop a big box store at the site. We have formed a strong alliance with Bayview Business Association and have worked on viable alternatives that would include a hotel and the relocation of the police and fire station. The CDC has based much of its commercial redevelopment strategy on the proposed MTA bus depot relocation project. Almost three years in the making, we have been able to identify and partner with a developer willing to create a mixed use development project that would encompass the entire Eastern bus division, and City owned parking lot on Eastern Avenue. We continue to meet with the Baltimore Development Corporation, the MTA and potential retailers on this project to keep the vision alive.
We have also partnered with the Saint Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church Plateia committee to assist in zoning appeals to open the long awaited Plateia project. The site will host community events, concerts and church related activities in our neighborhood.
The Economic Development program also focuses on outreach and marketing for our existing business community and main street. We have assisted three new business opportunities in Greektown, including a real estate office that is planning to redevelop homes in Greektown.
The Greektown CDC plays an instrumental role in the Greektown Business Alliance efforts. The GBA represents 65 business in the community by providing marketing assistance, advocacy, grant opportunities and a unified voice for the small business community. The Greektown CDC manages all mailings, maintenance of banners, facilitates meetings on behalf of GBA's President and much more.
Our Human Development program has broadened its scope from originally focusing on supporting Mora Crossman Recreation Center in Greektown and Buddies, Inc. Programs include sponsoring neighborhood children to see an Orioles game, mentoring students at John Ruhrah Elementary/Middle school and developing neighborhood leaders. Due to our strong partnership with teachers and faculty at John Ruhrah, we were able to provide several field trips for individual students with special interests and connect them to a real world experience. The CDC has also developed a committee structure of residents including a dedicated group of young professionals who have focused on a variety of community engagement projects. We host an annual 'National Night Out' and a Citizens On Patrol program both of which focus on deterring crime. During the holidays, the CDC coordinated a holiday door decorating contest in which committee members helped judge Greektown homes and awarded them with significant prizes.
Our Housing Development program has strongly advocated for the Kettler development project, the site of the former Bob's trucking depot in the 900 block of Oldham Street. We have attended numerous planning and zoning meetings to ensure the development of phase one. We continue to support the very successful Athena Square development (900 block of Oldham Street) which has developed 75 luxury homes. The Kettler developers have successfully demolished the existing warehouses, graded and paved Macon street and are ready for production in 2012 for 121 new luxury townhomes. The CDC has also helped market and promote homes for sale in the Greektown neighborhood by coordinating numerous housing tours and website advertising. For instance, we hosted a 'Live Near Your Work' tour during our Greek Folk festival to promote Johns Hopkins employees into buying homes in our neighborhood. We have also been promoting our Healthy Neighborhoods loan products which offers low interest rates for prospective home buyers. Prospective homeowners can now search Healthy Neighborhood's and Live Baltimore's website for quality Greektown homes for sale.
Our Marketing and Cultural programs continue to provide Greektown Banners throughout the neighborhood and markets our efforts through the Greektown CDC newsletter, church bulletins, newspaper advertisements, emails and facebook promotion. The Greektown CDC has been featured and mentioned in numerous articles in the Baltimore Guide, the Baltimore Sun, the JHU Gazette and local bloggers. In 2011 we received international attention on Greece's national network 'ERT' which featured a documentary on Baltimore's Greektown and the efforts of the Greektown CDC. The Greektown CDC plays a crucial role in many of Greektown's cultural events, serving as committee members and advocates for both the annual Saint Nicholas Greek Folk Festival and Greek Independence Day Parade. The CDC helps plan, market, fundraise and coordinate the permit process with the City for these major events. In an effort to promote additional arts and culture in the neighborhood, we hosted our first Books, Blues and Baklava event designed to promote local artists to the community.
Organizationally, we have received the highest rating from our independent auditors. We continue our strong partnerships with Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Campus, Peter G. Angelos, the Southeast Community Development Corporation and many private foundations and corporate funders. The CDC is also represented on numerous boards and committees throughout the region. We continue to play a main role as liaison to the City for our faith based community, residents and businesses.
We have made significant progress over the years but we still have much to accomplish in ensuring our long term goals are met.
Believe in your community!
Col. John E. Gavrilis