A patch of ground near where 6-year-old Tiffany Smith was killed in a shootout last month will be named "Tiffany Square" tomorrow.
Residents will plant 260 geraniums and hang a sign proclaiming "Tiffany Square" in the triangular patch at Rosedale Street, Westwood Avenue and Bloomingdale Road in West Baltimore. Tiffany was killed by a stray bullet during a shootout July 9 as she played on the sidewalk in the 1800 block of N. Rosedale St., a few yards from the planned flower garden.
Tomorrow's dedication will be part of a neighborhood cleanup and "community fun day" in an area known for violence and drug dealing. Since Tiffany's death, residents have mounted an aggressive, wide-ranging campaign to make their community safe.
Tiffany was killed when two men with guns faced off at opposite ends of the block and shot wildly at each other. One suspect has been arrested. A second man is still at large.
Last Saturday, a few blocks away in Walbrook Junction, another child was killed in a shooting that police say may have been drug-related. A 3-year-old girl and a 20-year-old man were killed in that shooting. No one has been arrested in that case, police spokesman Arlene Jenkins said yesterday.
Bernadette Devone, who lives across the street from where Tiffany was shot, organized her neighbors, including several from Tiffany's family, into the Rosedale Community Task Force. It held community meetings, fashioned a broad plan to save the neighborhood and met with city officials, including Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke.
"The mayor has been fantastic," Devone said.
Schmoke has ordered workers into the neighborhood to trim hedges and cut grass, and has pledged about 50 workers and four dump trucks for tomorrow's clean-up day, Devone said.
In addition, she said, 30 to 40 residents have volunteered to help clear trash from the eight blocks bounded by W. North Avenue, Poplar Grove Street, Baker Street and Bloomingdale Road. Included in those volunteers, Devone said, are "people we know who sell drugs on the street."
The cleanup is to take place from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. The dedication of Tiffany Square is to follow at 2:30 p.m.
Public officials, including the three City Council members from the 4th District, have promised to come. Residents will plant the geraniums and raise the sign, and eventually a statue of a little girl will be placed in Tiffany Square, Devone said.
From 3 p.m. on, the Rosedale Community Task Force will host a party and give away hot dogs and hamburgers, and the White Stone Baptist Church choir will perform.
In coming weeks, Devone said, residents plan to organize block watches and street patrols, and to ask the city Police Department for two or three more foot patrolmen in the neighborhood.
Also, she said, Schmoke has promised to help find tenants for vacant houses in the area, and to help the residents open a youth center in one of the vacant buildings on North Avenue.
"We are moving; we're on our way," Devone said.