Washington Hill area awaits final touch Neighborhood eyes federal housing grant.


Betty Hyatt has spent 20 years seeing that the decaying housing in her East Baltimore neighborhood of Washington Hill is replaced by new housing for homeowners.

About 800 new housing units later, she is just one project away from seeing her job completed.

The city Board of Estimates yesterday authorized the Department of Housing and Community Development to apply for a federal Urban Development Action Grant worth slightly more than $1 million to finish the job.

The grant would help finance a $4.5 million housing project expected to provide 66 new low- and middle-income housing units around the 1400 block of E. Baltimore St.

More than half of the housing would be two- and three-bedroom condominium units with the rest being single-family townhouses.

The remaining $3.5 million cost of the project is to come from the Community Development Finance Corp., established by the Schmoke administration to provide private funding for new housing.

Hyatt, director of Citizens for Washington Hill, said the project "is the last major housing project left in our community."

Hyatt has been director of Citizens for Washington Hill for 20 years. The group is the citizens' advisory committee for the Washington Hill/Chapel Urban Renewal Area.

In those years, the community has seen the construction of 814 new housing units in the area bounded Central Avenue, Washington Street, Fayette Street and Lombard Street.

The board decision was not without controversy. Representatives from several Fells Point community groups said they were not given the chance to compete for the grant.

David K. Elam, director of development for the housing department, said the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, which oversees UDAGs, notified the city that unspent funds granted before 1981 had to be used or returned.

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