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City life with a country feel

Named for two of its bordering streets, Lake Walker is a tight-knit neighborhood with all the convenience city life offers.

"It's also very quiet," said Janet Abramovitz, president of the Lake Walker Community Association and a resident of the neighborhood for the past 14 years. "It feels very peaceful, like you're in the country."

Located in the city, just south of the Baltimore County line, Lake Walker is bordered by Walker Avenue on the north, Lake Avenue on the south, York Road on the west and Northwood Drive on the east.

Residents say the neighborhood offers seclusion despite the prime location. Known for mature trees that line the winding streets and a mix of residents, Lake Walker attracts both young and old.

"People who move here tend to stay because they love it so much," Abramovitz said. "There's a strong sense of community here. It's very friendly. It's what a neighborhood is all about."

Originally part of the Linden Farm, named for the Linden trees that once covered the area, Lake Walker was developed primarily between 1922 and 1926, said Jim Pickett, a resident who has researched the community's history. Advertised as being on a bus route, the community sprang up as York Road grew into a commercial thoroughfare.

A few older houses that predate the 1920s still exist, including a log cabin that's been covered with siding, the original gatehouse from the Cedarcroft Estate and an old farmhouse or two.

A group of European-style Tudor rowhouses, now shaded by towering sycamore trees, was built in the 1930s.

"What I like most about Lake Walker are the people who live in it," Pickett said. "It's very cohesive."

Front porches grace many of the houses, giving residents a place to hang out and catch up. Well-attended community events such as the annual block party and plant exchange also offer opportunities for neighbors to mingle. And the presence of lots of dog owners mean someone is always out walking.

Housing stock With about 775 houses in the neighborhood, Lake Walker architecture includes a mix of bungalows, Arts and Craft style homes, Tudor rowhouses, brick rowhouses and a few historic houses sprinkled into the mix.

It's the 1920s three-bedroom cedar bungalow that's most commonly associated with the neighborhood, says Lucy Sarris, a real estate agent with the Towson South office of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage and a Lake Walker resident.

"It's a very neat little enclave," said Sarris, noting that the neighborhood has affordable, detached, charming homes with nice-sized yards and mature trees, but is still close to everything.

"For a city neighborhood, you get a lot of space and a lot of yard," Sarris said. "It's sort of a throwback to the 1950s, where people are sitting on their front porches and out walking dogs or strolling [with] babies."

The average sales price of a detached house is in the $275,000 range.

Crime "It's a relatively quiet neighborhood," said Doug Gibson, a community relations officer with the Baltimore City Police Northern District.

A strong community association and residents who stay active help keep crime low. There are isolated issues with houses being rented to college students. Other common calls include occasional burglaries and property theft.

"For the most part, it's a relatively low crime area," Gibson said.

Schools The public school choices for children include Govans Elementary, Chinquapin Middle, W.E.B. DuBois High School and Reginald F. Lewis High School.

Fourth graders at the elementary school scored 82.4 percent proficient in math and 72.5 percent in reading. The school also met state Adequate Yearly Progress standards, a tool used to track academic progress and make accountability decisions. Both high schools had a graduation rate of 65 percent.

There are also several private school choices nearby.

Shopping The neighborhood is walking distance to Belvedere Square, which features many specialty shops including home furnishings, children's boutiques, an independent bookstore and trendy fashion spots. Other stores and services line York Road, and Towson Town Center is a short drive north.

Dining in Giant Food on York Road is close. There's also the Belvedere Square Market for upscale gourmet offerings.

Dining out There's a wide selection of local and national eateries within walking distance and which offer cuisines that include Tex-Mex, Chinese, vegetarian, Irish fare and wood-fired pizza.

Nightlife The neighborhood is walking distance to the historic Senator Theatre. During the summer months, residents can attend the free outdoor concert series at Belvedere Square.

Parks and recreation Located just outside of the neighborhood is Evesham Park. The revitalized park includes two sections, split by Northern Parkway but with a pedestrian bridge connecting the two sides. The park includes open space, a tot lot and concert stage.

lake walker by the numbers ZIP code: 21212

Homes on the market: 8

Average sale price: $261,888*

Average days on the market: 72*

*Information based on sales during the past 12 months, compiled by Lucy Sarris of the Towson South office of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage and Metropolitan Regional Information Systems Inc.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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