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'Debaters' in mayoral campaign take a walk City agency aids in developing housing on vacant lands.


In the 1700 block of N. Dallas St., nine homes are being renovated by a former resident turned developer.

In the 900 block of E. North Ave., the Poets' Athletic Club Inc. is converting three vacant rowhouses into a private social club and community center.

At other locations in East Baltimore, more than 200 housing units are planned under an ambitious venture called the East Side Development Project. Most of the projects involve some city funding, or loans from the Community Development Financing Corp., a city agency that uses private money to help developers renovate vacant properties.

Yesterday, Mayor Kurt Schmoke and other city officials provided details about the project while standing in front on the future site of the Poets' Athletic Club.

"We are doing this against a backdrop of a rough time in terms of federal dollars," said Robert W. Hearn, Baltimore's commissioner of Housing and Community Development.

In all, the six developments, which are scattered over four East Baltimore communities, will bring some 229 new or rehabilitated residential units to the area.

Schmoke used yesterday's announcement to tout the administration's "continued commitment to providing affordable housing."

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