Vision for Charles Village will be revealed today Community goals include livelier commercial area, improved traffic, parking

June 04, 1998|By Edward Gunts | Edward Gunts,SUN STAFF

Baltimore's Greater Charles Village area is relatively healthy, but many residents and business owners believe it could get even better.

They envision a livelier commercial district along St. Paul Street, improved traffic and parking patterns, a stronger relationship with the Johns Hopkins University and greater protection of historic buildings.

They'd also like to see more of Charles Street opened to two-way traffic, an expanded Waverly Farmers' Market, a greenway along 26th Street, and a "Korean Village" near North Avenue.

These and other goals for improving Charles Village and four surrounding neighborhoods are contained in a $100,000 master plan that will be unveiled at 5 p.m. today at the Charles Village Community Benefits District offices, 2301 N. Charles St.

Prepared by Alfred W. Barry III of Baltimore's AB Associates, the Greater Charles Village Master Plan represents the culmination of two years of work by architects, planners and hundreds of community members.

It will be used to guide revitalization of a 100-square-block area comprised of Charles Village, Abell, the Better Greenmount Alliance, the "Harwood/26'ers" and South Charles Village.

The area is bounded roughly by University Parkway on the north, Greenmount and Guilford avenues on the east, 20th Street on the south and Howard Street and Huntingdon Avenue on the west.

"The plan is a vision for all the future investment in the community," said Tracy Durkin, administrator for the three-year-old benefits district.

"It's extremely critical that a community has a united vision for NTC where it wants to go," Durkin said. "This plan represents as close to a consensus as you can get."

The completed plan is also a sign that Charles Village, which turned 100 last year, is serious about shaping its future and knows what it wants to happen, said Joe Rexing, a local architect and village resident who was instrumental as a volunteer in the planning effort.

"The master plan is the big picture," Rexing said. It "documents people's wishes, desires and dreams, from all corners of the area. It provides a framework for institutions and developers to work within. From that, groups can tear off chunks of it and begin to implement them."

In this shared vision for Charles Village in the next century, industries have been relocated, substandard housing has been replaced, and green space has been increased.

New opportunities have been identified for construction of shops, offices and housing.

One recommendation is for Charles Street to become a two-way thoroughfare from 25th Street to 29th Street, where it is now one-way northbound. Planners also suggested that Charles Street be redesigned between 25th Street and University Parkway so it looks more like a tree-lined boulevard, with a landscaped median in the center.

"Two-way is better for retail," Durkin said. "We're really suggesting that the city consider making [Charles Street] two-way all the way downtown."

Pub Date: 6/04/98

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