HISTORY OF THE RESERVOIR HILL IMPROVEMENT COUNCIL, INC.
The Reservoir Hill Improvement Council, Incorporated is a 501 (c) (3) corporation with an office located at 2001 Park Avenue, Baltimore, Maryland 21217.
The origin of the Reservoir Hill Improvement Council dates from the late 1970ís, when the City of Baltimore established a number of Mayorís Stations in city neighborhoods to make the resources of city agencies accessible to citizens. Communities were encouraged to develop Advisory Boards to offer city officials input in the needs of the community and to evaluate services offered through the Mayorís Stations. The Reservoir Hill Multipurpose Center Advisory Board, Inc. was created in 1983 to serve in this capacity at the Mayorís Station located at 2001 Park Avenue.
A decade later, the needs, issues, and concerns of the community had changed. The officers of the Advisory Board (known as the Executive Board), with the consensus of the entire voting board, restructured the organization to reflect the changes. In 1993, the Reservoir Hill Improvement Council, Inc. (hereafter referred to as RHIC) was created as an umbrella organization of block clubs, neighborhood associations, institutions and other groups within the neighborhood, with the goal of defining and solving problems common to the whole community of Reservoir Hill. Representatives of block clubs and neighborhood associations comprise the RHIC voting membership. Neighborhood institutions are welcome as non-voting associate members, and meetings are open to all individuals in the community.
The focus of RHIC is networking and providing access to resources, while patiently pulling together diverse (and traditionally, mutually suspicious) groups to work together for neighborhood interests. This focus is reflected in the initial statement of the organizationís philosophy:
The Council is guided by the philosophy that ëorganized people and economic development leads to community empowerment.í Empowerment is not created in a vacuum; but rather is achieved as a result of networking and by combining talents and resources.
RHIC has succeeded gradually in building a high level of cooperation and trust in the neighborhood across racial, religious, and socio-economic lines. This provided the leadership with a base of support from which to take a more aggressive role in the residentsí most critical issues: economic revitalization, attractive and affordable housing options, crime and safety, drugs, and sanitation. RHIC has launched several initiatives and has seen incremental successes in each of these areas by working in collaboration with a number of partners in the public, private, and non-profit sectors.