Church expands its mission

Amid celebration, New Shiloh Baptist breaks ground on 81-unit senior housing facility

June 04, 2006|By STEPHANIE DESMON | STEPHANIE DESMON,SUN REPORTER

This time next year, some will be able to call New Shiloh Baptist Church home.

Yesterday, state and local dignitaries were on hand to break ground on a $10.5 million, 81-unit affordable-housing complex for seniors, just across the street from New Shiloh, sandwiched between the modern church building and a dilapidated brick warehouse slated to be torn down as the church continues to expand its reach.

"This is a happy day," said the Rev. Harold A. Carter Sr. "This is a holy day."

The four-story New Shiloh Village complex, just south of Mondawmin Mall in West Baltimore, will include a community room, an arts and crafts room, laundry facilities and secured entrances. It will also include several environmentally friendly features, such as water-conserving plumbing and energy-efficient lights, windows and appliances, making it what some believe is the first "green" residential building in the city. The idea is to reduce utility costs, which are expected to rise sharply in coming months.

There will be 65 one-bedroom apartments for seniors, 15 two-bedroom apartments and an apartment for a live-in maintenance person. Much of the land where the church and outlying buildings sit was once the Cloverland Dairy. Now there is a church sanctuary, day care center and parking lots. In addition to the senior housing complex, the church hopes eventually to build a 150-child Head Start center and multipurpose building.

"This is just another chapter in the ongoing development of the New Shiloh Village," Carter said.

The senior housing complex is being developed by Unity Properties/Bon Secours Baltimore Health System and Enterprise Homes. The money is coming from state and city agencies and well as Enterprise Community Investments. The project is expected to be complete by May.

"People working together can move mountains," said Percy Allen II, Bon Secours' chief executive officer. "This is a project that brought all of us together."

"With God," said Michael Borland, executive director of New Shiloh Community Development Corp., "all things are possible."

For yesterday's ceremony, hundreds crowded into a white tent to celebrate the first step toward bringing affordable housing for seniors to the community. There was cheering and standing ovations. There was praise for those who were able to turn the pastor's vision for this complex into a reality and prayer for those whose job it will be to put hammer to nail and build it. And there was barbecue and cake.

"You have been abundantly blessed," Victor L. Hoskins, secretary of the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development, told those assembled. "They said, `Honor your mother and father and your years will be long.' That's the first commandment with a promise."

stephanie.desmon@baltsun.com

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