The Waverly Improvement Association (WIA) quarterly General Meeting was held on June 6, 2016. The meeting location was moved from Waverly ES/MS to the YMCA due to lack of access to the school building.
Speakers in order of appearance:
Charles Curlett, candidate for Baltimore City State’s Attorney.
Mr. Curlett spoke about the State’s Attorney’s Office’s “extraordinary turnover,” its record of not following best practices, its strained relationship with the BCPD, and the City’s terrible crime problem. His intention in seeking election is to restructure the management of the Baltimore City State’s Attorney’s Office so that it can build cases that can be tried successfully in court.
Melvin Hopkins, Community Liaison from the Baltimore City Fire Department reminded all attendees to change the batteries in their smoke detectors.
Erika Brown reported on the recent youth fair which was well-attended and positive. Likely it will become a regular seasonal event going forward. She also mentioned the recent successful cleanup event held at the Waverly ES/MS.
Erika’s Vista term is coming to an end soon. The new Vista person will need assistance on the Youth Steering Committee as well as other volunteers for efforts to bring a youth center to fruition.
Eileen Franch spoke about the proposed bike trail to run from Lake Montebello to JHU along 33rd Street. She expressed concern that proposed plans may partially close the entrance to Old York Road going north from any westbound traffic on 33rd, potentially causing very difficult traffic problems in Waverly.
City Councilperson Mary Pat Clarke, District 14, urged all Waverly residents to get involved in the planning process since it is still far from being completed.
She also reported on the ongoing City budget process and explained that most if not all city council representatives were fighting to restore 13 million in funds to support Safe Streets, before and after school programs, 4H, the Food Bank and other critical programs. At the time of the meeting Ms. Clarke was optimistic, stating “we’re almost there”, and that perhaps once Mayor Pugh is more familiar with the funding required for these programs, future budgeting will be less of a battle.
City Councilperson Bill Henry, District 4, reiterated Ms. Clarke’s sentiments.
Maryland Senator Joan Carter Conway, 43rd District, shed additional light on the statewide reductions in the Educational Trust Fund due to changes in revenue caused by trends in gambling away from slot machines and toward table games.
About the vacant Venable building, she announced that the City Planning Department had recently contacted her to review a new proposed option for the site. This meeting is to take place in mid-June. Therefore, Ms. Conway solicited the membership’s input about how she can best represent WIA’s wishes regarding the fate of that building. WIA spokesperson and Co-President T.C. Greene stated that the WIA wants access to the portable building now, in order to launch badly needed summer youth programs. Furthermore, it wants permanent access to the whole complex when the association can undertake the necessary renovations. Ms. Greene stated that every time the Youth Committee goes to the Housing Department (which has jurisdiction over this and all city-owned properties) “we are turned down”.
WIA Co-presidents Natalya Brusilovsky and T.C. Greene requested residents to get involved with WIA by volunteering. In particular, the Board Treasurer position is currently vacant. Anyone interested in volunteering should contact the WIA and can do so through the website.
Emilie Drasher, Executive Director of the Waverly Main Street (WMS) program, provided an update on the organization’s current work with local businesses and on economic revitalization. Façade renovations are continuing at Herman’s, The Book Thing, Peabody Heights Brewery, and another 15 projects in the pipeline.
The WMS is initiating a Green Team to make Greenmount Avenue “clean, safe and green. Meetings will be held the 3rd Monday of every month at the WMS headquarters, from 5-7 pm. The next meeting will be held on June 19, but will adjourn at 6 pm since many residents will want to attend the streetscape meeting from 6-7:30 at the Waverly branch of the Enoch Pratt Library.
In a brief update on the State DOT streetscaping project Ms. Drasher said the project may not kick off until 2017 as all the water line replacement and maintenance from 43rd to 25th Streets must be completed before the streetscaping project can commence.
Tammy McIntyre Miller from the City school system, who supervises 15 principals, announced the new principal of Waverly ES/MS Dr. Tanya Green. Ms. Miller stated she will work with Dr. Green to make the school, which was originally designated a community school, available to the community for neighborhood meetings and the like. She promised that the school would be available for the next General Meeting, which will be in September 2016.
Kun Sun Sweeley, WIA board member, gave an update on the MTA and the upcoming changes to the MTA bus routes effective Sunday, June 18, 2017. As of the previous evening, the head of the MTA, Paul Comfort, had left his post and had been replaced by Kevin Quinn . This was a surprising turn of events given the impending rollout of the new City Link bus services. Mr. Sweeley reminded residents that all bus, light rail and MTA Subway routes will be free of charge from June 18-30 to encourage ridership and accommodate riders who need to get used to new routes. Some bus stops will be eliminated and all current routes will be changed. The published Rider Guide explains the new BaltimoreLink routes and which current routes will be replaced by new BaltimoreLink routes. He also reminded residents that riders may continue to provide input and that MTA can still adjust going forward.
Andrew Reinel, outreach representative for Delegate Mary Washington (who had to leave early) announced that Ms. Washington is assisting homeowners with unpaid water bills who face losing their homes to tax sales. She requests that residents contact her office if they are aware of neighbors in that position.
Representatives from the Community Mediation Center at 3333 Greenmount Avenue, reminded residents of their mission to serve the community in case of disputes. Their hours are 9-5 Monday through Friday.
The next general meeting will be September 5, 2017.