Perring Loch a 'sleeping giant' in a bustling area

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Settled around Good Samaritan Hospital in Northeast Baltimore, Perring Loch is a small section of a bustling community.

It may be a little too busy for the small neighborhood, named after its east and west borders Loch Raven Boulevard and Perring Parkway. Residents often place orange cones and deck chairs in the streets to protect parking spaces from nearby Morgan State University students.

As were several communities in the vicinity, much of Perring Loch was built just after World War II during the 1950s. The area shares its east border with the Morgan State University campus and despite the parking issues - which both sides say are being resolved - residents enjoy having convenient access to higher education.

"They [Morgan State] provide a summer camp free of charge for the children in the area," says Rick Hackett, president of the Perring Loch Covenant Association and a resident since 1975. "Youths from our community participate in their programs every year."

The area's proximity to Good Samaritan is often acclaimed as well. The hospital was built in 1968, but it wasn't until the late 1980s that it would change from being a specialty hospital to a full community hospital, says Larry Beck, hospital president.

"The board decided that we really have a larger vision and role to play in the community of Northeast Baltimore," Beck says.

"Before, we didn't receive 911 calls, so if there was a car accident on the corner, we would have to tell them to go someplace else. So the decision was made that the emergency department was a key element to reach out to the community."

'They involve us'

Since the 1990s, the hospital has grown from about 14,000 patient visits a year to 30,000. Toward the end of the 1990s, Beck says, hospital board members realized they would need to build a new emergency room. This year, the hospital opened an emergency room three times the size of the old one, and more expansion is expected.

"They are good neighbors," Hackett says. "Everything they do, they involve us."

Being close to Perring Loch benefits the hospital family, too, says Beck, who jogs frequently in the area.

"It's a great place for people to live and raise families," he adds. "It's a sleeping giant of a place for people to rediscover in Northeast Baltimore. With the recent surge in housing prices, there can be some real bargains right under people's noses."

Several neighborhood leaders agree.

"If a house goes on sale, it doesn't last long," Hackett says. "I bought my house back in 1979 for $32,000, and now it's worth $95,000. We have a very quiet and pretty community, and we take pride in our homes."

Parking shortage

The primary complaint in the neighborhood involves parking, because of Morgan State's growth and the demand for student parking.

That has resulted in overflow parking in the community. Some residents say they have been irked by college students, who neighbors say take their parking spots and leave trash in the area.

"The major obstacles in most other areas in Baltimore is crime," Hackett says. "Ours is trash and parking."

Even so, Hackett says, the problems are being worked out with Morgan State officials. Clinton Coleman, Morgan's director of public relations, says the university is building a new parking garage to resolve the issue.

"We've worked with Perring Loch to try and alleviate as much of these problems as possible," Coleman says. "We have good relations with the community."

Neighbors say they couldn't ask for a better place to live.

"It certainly is a beautiful community," says Linda Pritchett, president of the Perring Loch Community Association.

"We work closely with the police department to keep crime down, and the neighbors tend to be people that want to work together."