RHIC’s Housing & Development Program seeks to improve the range of housing options available in Reservoir Hill, stimulate investment, improve amenities, and enhance development opportunities through planning, attracting resources to the community, and organizing community opinion around development strategies.

To learn more about the Housing & Development Program, contact Carl Cleary at 410.225.7547 or ccleary@reservoirhill.net

Current Initiatives

housing counseling referral service

Reservoir Hill Improvement Council (RHIC) can refer you to certified housing counseling agencies.  These agencies provide a Home Buyer Workshop to learn the basics of purchasing a home –  from budgeting and affordability to mortgages and real estate contracts. Completion of housing counseling is a requirement for most city and state down payment incentive programs.Are you thinking about buying a home? Reservoir Hill Improvement Council (RHIC) can refer you to certified housing counseling agencies.  These agencies provide a Home Buyer Workshop to learn the basics of purchasing a home –  from budgeting and affordability to mortgages and real estate contracts. Completion of housing counseling is a requirement for most city and state down payment incentive programs.

Renovation of Vacant Houses

To date, Healthy Neighborhoods, Inc. has invested $15 million dollars in Reservoir Hill in acquisition, rehab, loans, and community improvement projects.  Part of our goal has been to stimulate development through investment in the community that makes others want to invest and develop.  And it has had a good effect.  The media closing price of houses sold in 2013 was $138,000, the highest since 2007.  The community was hit hard by investor foreclosures, but that investment has started to return.  For instance, a firm acquired and finished two apartment buildings at Brookfield and Whitelock, and is looking toward other projects in Reservoir Hill.

Through a partnership with Healthy Neighborhoods, Inc. and Druid Heights Community Development Corporation, one of the last concentrations of vacant houses in Reservoir Hill on Callow Avenue were restored to their historic aesthetic with modern amenities.  

Druid Heights CDC & SM+P Architects worked closely with Baltimore City Commission for Historical & Architectural Preservation (CHAP) to ensure proper historic preservation approaches and details.  The partners used four different models for interior space planning, including a two-dwelling unit plan.

Highlights of the designs included:

  • full existing footprint of each house was maintained
  • Energy Star Qualified
  • maximal incorporation of pervious material
  • garden and lawn spaces
  • generous availability of natural lighting

Renderings for Callow Avenue were created by SM+P Associates. To view the designs, click here.

School Redevelopment

The $15 million renovation of John Eager Howard Elementary School began in 2016 with the new facility opening January 2018 as one of the first 21st Century Schools in Baltimore. The new school will merge the student populations of Westside & John Eager Howard Elementary Schools. Achieving this has been the result of a city-wide campaign organized through Transform Baltimore and Baltimore Education Coalition to modernize all Baltimore City public schools in which RHIC has been an active partner for the last four years.  Today, our work in community engagement around the design of the new facility is being looked as a model for other communities.

Making School Redevelopment Become Neighborhood Revitalization

With $15 - $17 million invested in the block containing the neighborhood school, recreation center, and park, RHIC believes we need a strategy for guiding public and private investment in the rest of the community that will let school redevelopment springboard into neighborhood redevelopment.  RHIC has partnered with Neighborhood Design Center to create a community investment strategy in 2014 to guide city investment in the rest of the community.  The Mayor has committed resources through the Department of Planning to ensure such community planning can be done in neighborhoods with redeveloping school facilities.  Again, achieving this kind of city attention to communities has been the outcome of working in Transform Baltimore and Baltimore Education Coalition to ensure that city neighborhoods have maximum benefit from school revitalization.

Re-imagining North Avenue

North Avenue has long been seen as a barrier between Reservoir Hill and the neighborhoods to our south.  Drawn together by Councilman Nick Mosby’s office, RHIC entered into a partnership with Druid Heights CDC, Coppin Heights CDC, Neighborhood Design Center, and Baltimore City Department of Transportation to create a streetscape plan in 2014 for North Avenue from Charles Street west to Hilton.

Enhancing walkability in Reservoir Hill through creative street and sidewalk improvements

In 2012, RHIC worked with Department of Transportation (DOT) to establish a range of priorities for street and sidewalk improvements throughout Reservoir Hill. The process started in February 2012 when RHIC and John Eager Howard School called a meeting to explore a new public safety strategy for the blocks surrounding the school and recreation center.  A core aspect of the strategy was street and sidewalk enhancements to increase pedestrian safety.  The meeting involved DOT, School Facilities, School Police, Central District Police, the mayor’s Office of Neighborhoods, the Mayor’s Office on Criminal Justice, and Councilman Mosby’s office.  Following that session, the Housing & Development Team assembled a set of street and sidewalk recommendations, and sponsored a tour of Reservoir Hill with DOT personnel.  In September 2012, DOT created a working document of those recommendations.

While the recommendations involve a range of improvements throughout Reservoir Hill, the chief priorities are:

  • Intersection improvements including better crosswalk strategies and alterations that slow traffic.
  • A focus on Linden Avenue and Whitelock Street as critical north-south and east-west thru traffic streets.
  • Attention to slowing traffic on Mt. Royal Terrace and transforming North Avenue for pedestrian safety and to reduce the perception of a barrier between Reservoir Hill and Bolton Hill.