Developer James Rouse returns home after stroke

October 27, 1994|By Adam Sachs | Adam Sachs,Sun Staff Writer

James W. Rouse, Columbia's developer and founder of a national affordable housing foundation, was released from Howard County General Hospital yesterday, five days after suffering what he called a "very minor stroke."

Mr. Rouse, 80, expects to recuperate for the next two weeks before resuming his work schedule as founder-chairman of The Enterprise Foundation, said officials at the nonprofit housing organization.

"I'm doing fine. I'm in good shape," Mr. Rouse said from his home yesterday in Columbia's Wilde Lake village.

Enterprise Foundation director of communications, Janice Daue, said on Tuesday Mr. Rouse sent a "very upbeat message to employees that he's fine, feeling better, not to worry."

In the memo, Mr. Rouse, who underwent coronary bypass surgery in May 1992, said he had suffered a "very minor stroke."

He humorously opened the memo by saying, "In case you have heard that I have been engaged in some mysterious maneuvers, the straight story is . . ."

Mr. Rouse then explained that he was unable to use his left arm and hand upon awakening on Friday. His doctor advised him to go to the emergency room immediately, he wrote.

"Many tests later," he wrote, "I am being released . . . with no serious complications -- just the physical therapy needed to restore the strength in my left arm."

These days, Mr. Rouse is focusing much of his efforts on the foundation's Sandtown-Winchester neighborhood transformation project, an attempt to upgrade housing and provide services in an impoverished and crime-ridden West Baltimore community.

Because of the stroke, Mr. Rouse was forced to cancel two speeches he was to deliver this week to the Baltimore Architectural Foundation and the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials.

October has been a rough month for the renowned philanthropist, advocate for the poor, urban planner and retail marketplace developer.

Three weekends ago, he fractured his ribs in a fall during a boating outing, he said. He also canceled some activities last week at his doctor's suggestion because he was suffering from a virus and a fever and was taking antibiotics, he said.

On Oct. 18, he held a news conference to explain why he believes incorporating Columbia would be a bad idea.

Mr. Rouse, who planned Columbia 30 years ago and oversaw its development before retiring as chief executive officer of the Rouse Co. in 1979, was responding to an independent coalition in Columbia that wants to replace the nonprofit Columbia Association with a city government.

The private Columbia Association, a huge property owners association, imposes an annual levy on Columbia residents and businesses to run the unincorporated community's recreational facilities and community programs.

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