In a move to reinvigorate his community development programs, Mayor Martin O'Malley announced yesterday the appointment of a director of "community investment" who will work with banks to redevelop Baltimore neighborhoods.
Gary M. Brooks, a former vice president and unit manager with Bank of America for 7 1/2 years, is charged with building a program similar to those in Pittsburgh and Cleveland, which have tapped banks for billions of dollars for redevelopment of neighborhoods.
The banks have provided the funds through the federal Community Reinvestment Act, intended to ensure that banks provide lending in hard-hit neighborhoods. The program has brought $2.7 billion to Pittsburgh since 1988 and $1.3 billion to Cleveland since 1991. Baltimore used $137 million in community reinvestment funds in about a dozen years.
O'Malley said he plans to use community reinvestment as a key part of his neighborhood revitalization effort.
"We want to make community reinvestment the rule in this administration," O'Malley said.
Brooks joined the city government after working in the Baltimore offices of the former NationsBank, now Bank of America. He managed a community development lending group that was responsible for more than $75 million a year in public, private, nonprofit and quasi-public projects.
Brooks said he intends to work hard on drawing money from the banking community into Baltimore. "We're really looking to private investment," he said.
Before joining Nationsbank in 1992, he was a vice president for Otis Warren Real Estate Services, for which he managed new development projects and the property management division.
Brooks received a bachelor of arts degree from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, a master's in public administration from the University of Baltimore and a law degree from the University of Maryland School of Law.
In addition to his banking and real estate experience, Brooks worked for several nonprofit housing agencies.
"We're lucky to have him," O'Malley said.