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Governor’s Community Legacy Program will help Southern MD

[ Return To Senator Roy Dyson's Newsletter ]

Posted on March 26, 2004:

Senator Dyson The Ehrlich administration is supporting a great program that I wholeheartedly support.

House Bill 165, better known as the Community Legacy Program -- Neighborhood Intervention Projects -- is vital for redeveloping blighted properties in local jurisdictions.

This worthwhile piece of legislation “redefines a community legacy project to allow financial assistance for a neighborhood intervention project and for a redevelopment-ready project,” according to the bill’s fiscal note produced by the non-partisan Department of Legislative Services.

Financial assistance for this program may include grants, loans, reduced principal or interest on a loan or credit enhancements.

House Bill 165, which is currently before my Senate Committee, the Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee, would also expand the type of recipients and projects eligible for funding to include local governments for demolishing property for revitalization, redevelopment, or reuse as part of a redevelopment plan, according to the fiscal note. The bill includes all of Maryland’s 23 counties as well as Baltimore City.

One of the projects listed in this Community Legacy Program Neighborhood Intervention Projects packet prepared by the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development is the beleaguered Lexington Manor in Lexington Park. It calls for $2.2 million to go towards the demolition of Lexington Manor which is crucial to getting better housing for the residents of the deteriorating neighborhood known as “the Flatops” as well as clearing out a desolate place in Lexington Park that will no doubt be helpful during the 2005 BRAC process. The Navy is currently looking at a 20-year project for its aviation program. Demolition of Lexington Manor will substantially reduce encroachment in the Air Installation Compatible Use Zone and beyond. It will allow further air space flexibility that fits into the Navy’s 20-year plan.

By ridding the Pax River airspace of the “Flattops,” the Navy won’t have to worry about experimental aircraft falling on houses or residents complaining about noise.

The Community Legacy Program project revealed “broad needs across the state. The problem is not one of only urban center, rural area or suburban communities. It reaches through every region of the state,” according to the Maryland Department of Housing report.

The report states that 14 counties and Baltimore City listed properties similar to the “Flatops” totaling 213 with demolition costs estimated at $14.7 million. This figure may seem like a lot at first glance, but in a few years, we will look back realize it was actually a major investment because it will revitalize communities that have languished for years. The Maryland Department of Housing has testified that it “will encourage homeownership, increase employment, reduce crime and improve the neighborhood environment.”

The administration has made a good decision to invest in neighborhoods that have been neglected for too long and now will be beacons when they were once blight.

[ Return To Senator Roy Dyson's Newsletter ]

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