Wednesday, April 15, 2015

A Lot of Confusion

By Blaine Carvalho, GRIA vice-president

Last year ended on a happy and very green note; the lot at 2701 Sisson Street was remediated by the city (a major expense) and the Greater Remington
 Improvement Association (GRIA) was approved to adopt the lot from Baltimore’s Housing department, which owns the land. At the city’s recommendation—and with e-mailed approval of community’s intent to immediately make use of the space—a group of motivated gardeners built above-ground gardening boxes. 

Things were going along very well and very quickly, for there was a growing season to adhere to, and plans were afoot to use the rest of the green space for events, ball games, and the general enjoyment of the community as the weather warmed up.

Then, in mid-March, GRIA heard from Baltimore Housing that the city was not going to let the community adopt the lot, but were instead going to sell it for commercial development. Now, the latest plan is that GRIA might be allowed to adopt a piece of the land, about one-third of it, and the rest is to be sold off to build another commercial property along Sisson Street.

Right now, the community is receiving as much rumor as it is facts. We really don’t know what the status of “our” lot is at the time of this writing.

Remington volunteers construct and arrange raised garden beds 
on April 4th. Fresh soil was donated by Potts & Callahan.

Our vision was to adopt the lot, care for it until it could either be re-zoned “open space” by the city (it is currently zoned “industrial”), placed in the land trust, or taken in by the city as an official park.

GRIA plans to work with the Mayor’s Office, Councilman Carl Stokes, and the city to clarify the intentions of Baltimore Housing, while making clear the desire of Remington to keep this property, in its entirety, as our green space. This issue will be on the agenda for the May 20th GRIA meeting. ◘

Photos by Maryanne Kondratenko