Where affordable houses beget nice homes Woodmoor properties tended with care, enjoyed with pride

Neighborhood Profile: Woodmoor

November 29, 1998|By Charles Belfoure | Charles Belfoure,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

In his 13 years as pastor of the Epworth United Methodist Chapel, the Rev. Horace L. Wallace has seen what pride of homeownership means to the people who live in Woodmoor.

"I've been to a lot of house blessings," Wallace said, describing a brief religious service that starts off a family's new life in a new home.

Woodmoor lies right next to the city's western boundary and borders the southern side of Liberty Road. It's made up of mostly Cape Cods, ranchers and split levels, but it also has some large garden apartment complexes such as Town and Country Apartments and even a high-rise building called the Balmoral.

The common denominator for all these properties is the high level of care they're given by their owners.

Woodmoor's affordable prices, which range from $82,000 to $110,000, and easy access to the Beltway have made the community a popular choice for double-income families, especially those who work at the Social Security Administration in Woodlawn.

"People like it because it's a county location, which means less car insurance and less taxes," said Verlena Miller, an agent at the Pikesville office of Long & Foster Real Estate Inc.

Although Woodmoor is a car-oriented community, the buses along Liberty Road connect with the Metro station on Rogers Avenue, Miller added.

According to Janette Little, who works at the O'Con- or, Piper & Flynn ERA Owings Mills office, houses in Woodmoor are generally less expensive than those to the northwest in Randallstown. "The houses in Randallstown are usually larger and have more land," Little said in explaining the price difference.

A landmark familiar to travelers along Liberty Road is the Woodmoor Shopping Center.

The center had fallen into disrepair, but three years ago it got a much-needed face lift by the owner, the estate of Harry Weinberg, which owns a great deal of Baltimore real estate. New signage and a red standing-seam metal roof now adorn the center that houses, among others, a Super Pride supermarket, a Rite Aid pharmacy and the Salon D'Artiste, a beauty salon.

Yet, for some store owners, there are still some problems to be solved.

Edward Dudley, the owner of African-American Fashions, feels that the loitering by teen-agers needs to be stopped.

The renovation, he says, "has made it a nicer place to hang out."

Dudley noted that the police have been very cooperative in helping the store owners and the shopping center's management solve this problem.

Wallace also knows that this is a problem in his community.

The minister's vision of a new addition to Epworth would provide much needed space for an athletic facility that the community's young people could use. Epworth has other activities that reach out to youth.

"We have a very strong scouting program, and we are in our first year of our male mentoring program," Wallace said, adding that, "our goal is to add a girl's program as well."

The mentoring has been so popular that the requests for spots in the program have far exceeded the number of volunteers.

Association lauded

Many residents will say that the stability and relative safety of Woodmoor is due in large part to its community association.

Its president, Gloria Shelton, credits the creation of a neighborhood COP (Citizens on Patrol) with helping keep crime to a minimum.

"It's our eyes for the police," said Gerald Jackson, the association's vice president, who has lived in Woodmoor 27 years.

As far back as 1850, the land on which Woodmoor stands was the estate of James Ridgely, who owned the Jameison Ridgely Powder Mill, located where Liberty Road crosses the Gwynns Falls. Ridgely's stone house still stands and is used as a dentist's office.

The name Woodmoor was created by the National Realty Company for a subdivision in 1950. After World War II, suburban home building boomed and vacant land along Liberty Road started to become developed.

The original neighborhood was mostly Jewish, with many families moving from the Pimlico and lower Liberty Heights sections.

Home-buying seminars

"People would think you were crazy for buying a house so far out, past Northern Parkway," remembered Stuart Rehr, an architect who grew up in the area. In the late 1960s, a small number of blacks bought homes in Woodmoor and most white families have moved on.

Wallace knows the priority that homeownership has in the black community, so Epworth holds seminars on home buying.

And, the minister has another important area of expertise available to homeowners. "Lawns. I know all about the upkeep of lawns, and I offer my advice to anyone who'll listen."

Woodmoor

Population: 3,975

ZIP code: 21207

Public schools: Woodmoor Elementary, Woodlawn Middle, Milford Mill Academy

Homes on market: 2

Average listing price: $91,848*

Average sales price: $88,607*

Average days on market: 93 days*

Sales price as a percentage of listing: 96 percent*

*Based on 14 sales over the last 12 months as recorded by the Metropolitan Regional Information System

Pub Date: 11/29/98

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