When Charles Aloe bought his home in Eager Park in 2015, he moved to the neighborhood formerly known as Middle East with the knowledge it was an area considered to be on the rise. However, what really sold the Baltimore transplant on the home was the affordability of such a large, newly-renovated rowhome for a fraction of the price of the home he previously purchased in Little Italy, he said.
The car-free lifestyle he’d be able to enjoy by walking to work also didn’t hurt, he added. Although he no longer works within walking distance from his Chase Street home, the neighborhood continues to provide the convenience he moved in for, he said. His new employer is still just a quick bus or bike ride away. He can also quickly walk his son or daughter to school at Henderson-Hopkins School and new shops and businesses are constantly in the works.
“Public transportation is really good, and there’s a lot of new bike infrastructure that cuts across our neighborhood as well,” Aloe said.
Aloe is one of many people attracted to Eager Park as pieces of the East Baltimore Redevelopment Project continue to fall into place. East Baltimore Development Inc., the nonprofit organization formed to lead the revitalization, is spearheading this effort.
The project — years in the making — is an ambitious plan to stabilize and revitalize the 88-acre community in East Baltimore by investing in the Middle East neighborhood — now called Eager Park — for families and children, according to Cheryl Washington, president and CEO of EBDI.
“We have intentionally set out to make the Eager Park community one of the most diverse communities in the City,” she said. “We work hard to ensure that historic residents and new residents are able to make Eager Park their home by providing many types of housing options at a wide variety of price points. Eager Park is quickly becoming a destination of choice for people to live, work, learn and play.”
The project area spans the neighborhood formerly known as Middle East and now named for the five-acre park at the intersection of Ashland Avenue and Wolfe Street, Eager Park. After a long period of disinvestment, the area is home to more than 450 units of affordable and market rate rental and for-sale housing with more than 400 additional units on the way.
Additional amenities include the Weinberg Early Childcare Center and Henderson-Hopkins School, the Marriott Residence Inn and its rooftop restaurant, 16 on the Park, and various retail and storefronts, including Starbucks, Atwater’s, Helmand Kabobi Afghan restaurant and The Harbor Bank of Maryland.
With fresh pavement, new trees, meticulous landscaping and a notable security force, the neighborhood feels vibrant and safe, according to resident Sonja Wood. Wood moved to Baltimore in 2014 to attend the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing and purchased her home in Eager Park in 2016.
“Many of my neighbors are colleagues in the same field of health care so we are able to talk about the things we enjoy,” Wood said. “They are also interested in seeing our neighborhood continue to be improved, well-rehabilitated and I appreciate that my neighbors want it to be clean, safe and a fun place to be.”
Living in the area is also desirable because of the groundbreaking discoveries happening around her every day, she added.
“The plan for the 88-acre Eager Park footprint will make the neighborhood one of the most vibrant, dynamic places in Baltimore City. It’s also a great crossroads for the international community due to Johns Hopkins so for anyone that wants to see amazing change, wonderful things happen, new ideas in health care and all those things attached to it, it will be the place to be. It is now but it’s going to be even better!”
If you want to explore the neighborhood and see more of what Eager Park residents love about the community, join the Live Baltimore team at our next Trolley Tour held at Henderson-Hopkins School. The event will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Jan. 26. and will feature tours of Southeast Baltimore, homebuying workshops, a real estate fair and the chance to become eligible to win $5,000 in down payment or closing cost assistance. To get your ticket visit www.LiveBaltimore.com/events.
About the author: Margarita Cambest is a Communications Coordinator at Live Baltimore. Live Baltimore is a nationally recognized, independent nonprofit organization committed to promoting the benefits of Baltimore City living. Each year, Live Baltimore provides thousands of individuals with information on the city’s 250+ neighborhoods, rental living options, home buying incentive programs, historic tax credits and more. For more information, visit LiveBaltimore.com.