$120,000 grant awarded by MTA

Effort to revitalize transit hubs

Mondawmin to be site of urban park

Blacks, Jews to be honored

July 23, 2002|By Jay Parsons | Jay Parsons,SUN STAFF

The Maryland Transit Administration announced yesterday the first of seven state grants to revitalize Baltimore transit hubs, awarding Greater Mondawmin $120,000 to develop a small urban park memorializing the area's Jewish past and African-American present.

Modeled after pocket parks in New York and Washington, the 4,300-square-foot triangular strip at Liberty Heights Avenue and Reisterstown Road is across from the Mondawmin transit center. Its centerpiece will be a memorial wall commemorating the lives of prominent Baltimore Jews and African-Americans.

"The corner could become a jewel for this urban place," said Earl Arnett, president of the Greater Mondawmin Coordinating Council. "People need tangible things to stimulate their vision of the past and feel good about urban revitalization. It gives them something other than words to see."

With a goal of doubling mass transit ridership by 2020, Gov. Parris N. Glendening embraced the announcement as a step forward in his ambitious Smart Growth initiative. "Investing in transit is one of our most powerful and effective Smart Growth tools," Glendening said in a statement.

Though the grant is intended to trigger increased use of the Mondawmin station by making the area more pedestrian friendly, none of the money will go toward improvements to the transit center itself, which includes bus, shuttle and subway stops. Community officials are lobbying for an additional $10 million enhancement for the station. That plan is about five years away, Arnett said.

State and community officials are counting on the area's beautification, including the memorial, to attract residents to the station. Planned at the triangular strip, to be called Liberty Park, is a locally designed piece of art - probably a statue - and a wall memorializing about six prominent African-Americans and Jews. The artwork will be illuminated and surrounded by trees and shrubbery.

Glendening apportioned $5 million in grant money this year for 17 communities across the state. The transit administration will announce other grant winners in coming weeks.

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