The Board of Estimates approved the sale of the old Patapsco Elementary School to the Cherry Hill Community Development Corporation on Wednesday. The old building will be demolished to make way for mixed-use, mixed-income housing that includes an adult learning center.
While he is excited for the project, Council President Nick Mosby had concerns about the process.
CHDC is a community nonprofit that will work with minority-owned contractors, but it’s also the recipient of a non-competitive award; the city made the decision to move forward with the project in 2019. Council President Nick Mosby was the only board member to vote against the project, calling it a “sole source” deal. He also pointed out that CHDC had not shared schematics or a conceptual design– and urged caution in approving development projects in places that have historically been underinvested, like Cherry Hill.
“I think we should stay away from doing sole source, non- competitive awards of developments, particularly in areas where we know land is a scarcity,” Mosby told WYPR after the meeting. “Cherry Hill and Wesport are one of the only remaining waterfront neighborhoods.” He went on to add that he thought the proposed project would be critical to the area’s “success” and noted that historically it hasn’t had large community developments.
“There’s so many elements that [go] into a development like this that will have lasting and generational impacts on this community,” Mosby said during the meeting.
Wednesday’s vote was delayed after a community member, Eduard Prince, came forward in April with concerns about displacement and gentrification in the neighborhood.