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East-side renovation gets a boost

The Baltimore Sun

The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation announced yesterday that it will contribute $15 million over five years to the second phase of a major redevelopment plan near the Johns Hopkins medical complex.

The money will support existing programs of the East Baltimore Development Inc., the nonprofit organization overseeing the project, as well as new initiatives for work force development, senior services and education, including construction of an education campus that will include a school for children in prekindergarten through eighth grade.

Overall, the 88-acre, $1.8 billion redevelopment project combines privately owned medical research and technology facilities and new market-rate and senior housing with education and job-training programs in East Baltimore. More than 500 buildings were demolished to make way for the project, and 425 families were relocated.

"EBDI is not just the rehabilitation of what had been an awful slum in Baltimore," said Weinberg President Shale D. Stiller. "It's for taking care of people of all types."

The foundation will lend technical expertise to the programs as well.

"We really view this as a model of how to remake a city," said Barry Schloss, Weinberg Foundation treasurer and trustee.

Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin praised the project. "You had the confidence that you could take a neighborhood and change a neighborhood but bring the people back," he said.

Several elected officials saw metaphors in the promise of more money for construction.

Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski described the money for work force development, senior safety nets and early-childhood education and screening as a "bridge to somewhere."

"You brought in the girders today, Weinberg Foundation," she told a gathering at one of the first senior housing facilities built as part of the redevelopment.

Rep. John Sarbanes welcomed Johns Hopkins' partnership with the community.

"Johns Hopkins, as powerful as it is, could have chosen to build a moat, and instead you've built a bridge," he said.

An East Baltimore resident for 30 years, Frances Nicholas spent seven years at a senior facility in Catonsville before moving last fall into Park View at Ashland Terrace, the first building constructed there for older adults.

"It's a godsend for this community and all the citizens who are going to be living here," she said.

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