Baltimore County and the state of Maryland will invest $20 million in the revitalization of the commercial area surrounding Woodlawn’s beleaguered Security Square Mall, County Executive Johnny Olszewski announced Tuesday.
The shopping center, located at the intersection of Interstate 70 and the Baltimore Beltway, has been in decline throughout the years, losing big retailers such as JCPenney, Sears, IHOP, and Bennigan’s.
“All communities are worthy of investment and capable of revitalization, including Security Square which has long been a central community hub in Western Baltimore County that has not yet reached its fullest potential,” Olszewski said in a statement.
“With this investment, we are becoming a fully committed partner in the effort to revitalize this critical economic and community anchor,” he added.
The new funding – $10 million allocated in the county’s budget and $10 million secured in the state capital budget by Maryland House Speaker Adrienne Jones – will build on recent steps the county has taken to revitalize the mall.
Last year, the county opened the new, state-of-the-art Woodlawn Health Center at the O.W.E Center. The 8,800 square-foot site, managed by Set the Captives Free Outreach Center, more than doubled the size of the previous center.
Earlier this month, the former Bennigans and IHOP buildings were razed to make way for new additions, including a Chik Fil A slated to open this fall.
“Security Square Mall remains a vibrant place for local businesses and an important part of the community, but the property needs significant revitalization and investment,” Speaker Jones said in a statement.
“This $20 million investment will jump-start this effort and help bring new life to the community,” she said.
The revitalization plan will take community input into account, Olszewski said.
In the fall, the county will host a meeting in which community members can come together with architects, design professionals, transportation experts, and economists to formally rethink the future of the property.