Sonia Eaddy celebrates after an announcement by Mayor Brandon Scott on Monday that her family would be able to remain in their Poppleton home. Image via Charm TV Baltimore/Facebook.

Sonia Eaddy’s voice rattled with emotion as she spoke about the journey to save her family’s home, which was among a group of houses in west Baltimore’s Poppleton neighborhood targeted for redevelopment.

“I just want to cry right now,” Eaddy said. “Thank you. This has been a long day coming.”

Mayor Brandon Scott on Monday afternoon announced that the Eaddys’ home at 319 North Carrollton Ave. – along with another house at 321 Carrollton Ave. – would be removed from the existing land disposition and development agreement, the homes will not be condemned, and the Eaddy family will be able to remain in their home.

Eaddy said she is grateful that her father, who bought the house for her, is alive to see her retain it after outcry from the Poppleton community and beyond.

“I thank God he’s still alive at 87 and is able to celebrate with me,” she said.

Additionally, Black Women Build has been brought on to restore homes on Sarah Ann Street, which Scott said were already slated to be restored and offered for homeownership.

Baltimore City Housing Commissioner Alice Kennedy said the city will be connecting with the tenants that used to live in the rainbow-colored row of Sarah Ann Street homes to give them the first shot at purchasing the homes once they are restored.

Shelley Halstead, founder and executive director of Black Women Build, said she was honored to be part of the project.

“I really look forward to working with everybody involved, and turning these houses back into homes,” Halstead said.

La Cité Development will move forward with an affordable senior housing development at 231 N. Schroeder St., Scott said.

The city’s spending panel will move forward this week with an amendment to the land disposition agreement for the Poppleton redevelopment project, Scott said.

He added that the city and developers will work with Poppleton community members to determine how to use the remainder of the land that is part of the redevelopment project.

The remaining land includes about 9.6 acres, Kennedy said.

“Even as we become more intentional about reinvestment in communities like this one, we don’t want that reinvestment to harm our legacy residents, residents who have stayed in these communities, believed in our city, and borne the burden of decades of disinvestment,” Scott said.

He added that for redevelopment to benefit Baltimoreans, it must not push out residents who have lived in and supported the city for years.

“Baltimore’s renaissance is at hand, but it cannot be a renaissance that displaces those who have been here through thick and thin,” he said.

Daniel Bythewood Jr., president of La Cité Development, said he is excited to be able to reach an agreement that allows the Eaddy family to stay in the neighborhood where Sonia grew up.

“We’re really excited because it allows us to move forward in a direction that is a win for everybody,” Bythewood said.

Councilman John Bullock, who represents District 9, including Poppleton, said improving the city’s wellbeing depends on collaboration among all parties.

“The reality is that in order to turn our city around and turn our neighbors around it takes all of us working in concert together…. None of us can rewrite the past, but we can chart a better future and we can only do that together,” Bullock said.

He added that the redevelopment process requires “not only rebuilding a neighborhood but also injecting new life and also resurrecting some of the things that have been lost in the past.”

Kennedy said she will be working with Baltimore City Recreation and Parks Executive Director Reginald Moore to make sure that Poppleton will have the amenities it needs to make it a thriving community as development gets underway.

Eaddy said today is a victory not just for Poppleton, but for all of Baltimore City.

“So we’re going to need not just Poppleton, but we’re going to need the neighborhoods of all of Baltimore City to be out here … letting our mayor and letting everybody know what it is that we need to let our neighborhoods be vibrant, be healthy, that others will want to come in and move into Baltimore City,” she said.”

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Marcus Dieterle

Marcus Dieterle is the managing editor of Baltimore Fishbowl. He returned to Baltimore in 2020 after working as the deputy editor of the Cecil Whig newspaper in Elkton, Md. He can be reached at marcus@baltimorefishbowl.com...