Lifting Charles Village economy a priority for district official

Community group leader to target development

June 04, 1999|By Jamie Stiehm | Jamie Stiehm,SUN STAFF

The new executive director of the Charles Village Community Benefits District, 29-year-old Dan Klocke, says generating more economic development is his first priority.

"You can clean and patrol forever, but you also have to build on what you have," said Klocke, previously a business development coordinator for a nonprofit Bel Air housing service. He started his new job, which pays about $40,000 a year, six weeks ago. He replaced Rick Mosely, who left after a short stint.

The district's roughly 14,000 residents voted in 1994 to pay extra taxes to get more services. Klocke says it is his mission to offer programs that make Charles Village more attractive to investors, business owners and residents -- in the face of a declining tax base.

A statewide Main Street Maryland initiative, which gives matching grants to small-business owners making facade and other improvements, is a key part of the area's prescription for economic health, Klocke said yesterday at a coffeehouse near the benefits district's Charles Street office.

Equally important is the amount of volunteer energy and expertise that goes into making the village more vibrant, he said.

Klocke said he is pleased to see on the horizon the conversion of the old Astor Court hotel into market-rate apartments on St. Paul Street and the construction of a CVS drugstore at 25th and Charles streets.

Acknowledging that there is community opposition to CVS' tearing down 10 old buildings, Klocke said, "That caused a little consternation, but those are positive growing pains."

Klocke grew up in Buffalo, N.Y., which he described as "another blue collar ethnic town with a heck of a lot of personality."

Tom Shafer, founder of the benefits district, said Klocke's community organizing background and experience with grant proposals and budgets made him stand out in the field of candidates. "He fit the profile," said Shafer.

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