Redevelopment group ready for East Baltimore festival

Event: Trolley tours, a parade, children's activities and more will be part of "Celebrate Community!"

April 30, 1999|By Amy Oakes | Amy Oakes,SUN STAFF

It's been five years since the Historic East Baltimore Community Action Coalition began its east-side redevelopment efforts, and now it's time to show off a little.

From 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. tomorrow, HEBCAC is holding a "Celebrate Community!" festival in the 800 and 900 blocks of N. Broadway and the 1700 and 1800 blocks of Ashland Ave. The area will be blocked off and packed with employment service booths, informational and commercial vendors, performance stages and children's activities, such as face painting and a moon bounce.

The event will include trolley tours of seven housing developments under renovation by HEBCAC. A parade down Broadway, starting at North Avenue, begins festivities at 10 a.m.

"We've had several years of planning, and stuff is now coming to fruition," said Tracy Oliver-Keyser, the organization's community development director. "It's time to show people what we've been doing."

The organization isn't holding the only festival in East Baltimore this weekend. The Patterson Park branch of the Enoch Pratt Free Library and the Patterson Park Neighborhoods Initiative are holding the third annual Fayette Street Fun Fest at Library Square, which is at Fayette Street and Linwood Avenue, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Terry A. Todesco, a spokeswoman for Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, a co-sponsor of HEBCAC's celebration, said she expects more than 7,000 people. Along with radio and print advertising, volunteers have been posting fliers throughout East Baltimore.

"The whole point is to draw people to the area and get them involved in the programs," Todesco said.

Booths for service providers, such as Bridges to Work and Breast Cancer Awareness, will outnumber commercial booths, which will offer fair food such as hot dogs and snow cones.

The festival also is sponsored by Kennedy Krieger Institute, the state of Maryland, Baltimore City, the Monument Street Merchant's Association and local community associations.

HEBCAC was created in 1994 to implement the east-side redevelopment plan, conceived by residents, city and state officials and representatives from Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions and Kennedy Krieger Institute. It was appointed by the city to use a $34.1 million federal loan to purchase vacant buildings for renovation or demolition.

Oliver-Keyser said "Celebrate Community!" began as a small spring event but turned into a large festival with live performances by acts such as Ruby Glover and the Dunbar Jazz Ensemble, Fertile Ground and Kim Waters. Several dedication ceremonies, including one at the newly cleaned lot at McDonogh and Eager streets and another to showcase the organization's boundary markers, will be held.

"It has just kind of snowballed into this bigger thing," Oliver-Keyser said.

Pub Date: 4/30/99

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