How Johns Hopkins’ Plans to Take Over North-Central Baltimore Are Going

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We’ve reported before on Johns Hopkins’ $10 million plan to infiltrate — I mean, improve! — the area around its Homewood campus. Well, $2 million has already been spent so far in the program’s first year; here’s where it went:

  • $800,000 in improvements to two local elementary/middle schools, Margaret Brent and Barclay. The money helped the schools renovate cafeterias, bathrooms, and entryways; Baltimore City Public Schools put up matching funds for the project. Hopkins also got Samsung to donate a bunch of tablet computers and interactive whiteboards for a “smart-classroom pilot project.”
  • $27,000 worth of “Live Near Your Work” grants, which subsidize Hopkins employees who buy houses in certain near-campus neighborhoods.
  • $?? an undisclosed investment in two buildings in Station North — 10 E. North Avenue and the Parkway Theater, both leased in partnership with MICA. The space will be used to house a joint undergrad film program. “In a small way, Hopkins is creating another campus along the Charles Street spine,” says Andy Frank, a special adviser to Hopkins President Ronald J. Daniels. “Planting a flag in Station North gives us the opportunity to strengthen the Charles Street corridor between Homewood and Peabody, north of North Avenue.”

One piece of advice to Frank, who has a lot of interesting things to say about the project: Please don’t imply that the neighborhoods around Hopkins are sad places that are “less than” Baltimore’s “most desirable” neighborhoods — Federal Hill, Fells Point, Canton, and Mt. Vernon, apparently. Plenty of people already live near the Homewood campus, and they do so because it’s nothing like Canton. Just saying.

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  1. Thank you JHU! We have noticed a change already in our neighborhood (Harwood) since the 29th St Community Center opened. The schools both look great, and those improvements are contributing to a positive learning environment. Overall, this positive momentum is drawing new families to our neighborhood!

  2. Kudos to Hopkins and Mr. Daniels. Improving a public elementary school and middle school, supporting a neighborhood rec center, partnering with MICA to expand an undergraduate film program into the community; who could hate that?

  3. No matter what JHU does they can’t win, can they? First they are charged with ignoring surrounding neighborhoods for years (true enough) and then when they decide to pay attention to neighborhoods they are charged with infiltrating.

    The list of where they have spent their money sure seems like a win-win to me. Yes, it is in Hopkins self interest to have improved neighborhoods and yes it is a good thing for the neighborhoods to have improved schools and recreation centers.

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