Neighborhoods of Baltimore, The Baltimore Sun
Traipsing across the vacant, littered lot at the Southwest corner of Druid Hill Avenue and Baker Street, Anthony Pressley looked ahead proudly to 17 newly constructed homes. In this perpetually struggling West Baltimore neighborhood, those gleaming houses were a substantial victory for Pressley and his colleagues at the Druid Heights Community Development Corporation.
But surrounding those Baker Street townhomes for low- and moderate-income families are blocks of vacants you’ve grown accustomed to seeing on CNN, MSNBC and Fox News over these past few weeks. Though our tour with Pressley took place more than a month ago, the thoughts he shared on that windy late-March day have become common refrain on national news shows in the aftermath of Freddie Gray’s death and the Baltimore Uprising.
“After the ’68 riots, that’s when you see most of these boarded-up houses across the country,” said Pressley, director of community resources for DHCDC. “When a community has so many blighted properties, you were entitled to certain funds from the federal government. We started with renewal funding and grew to where we are now. … But it really went down in 1968, and we’re still trying to build up from there.”