Grass-Roots City Redevelopment in Baltimore

A neighborhood group in Baltimore fights out-of-town developers for city contracts to rehab houses, arguing that it does a better job of meeting the community's needs.

May 11, 2005, 1:00 PM PDT

By Abhijeet Chavan @

T.E.A.M., a neighborhood group which includes a local black market consortium of unlicenced drug dealers-turned-tradesmen, gut and refurbish Baltimore's abandoned rowhouses for under $15,000, about 1/3 of the average cost of similar programs using big name developers and government grants. They want the city to choose them for redevelopment projects instead of bringing in "carpetbaggers" who only pledge a small portion as "affordable units." T.E.A.M. rehab jobs are entirely affordable, and accomplished room by room to keep payments minimal. A member of T.E.A.M. warns that the time and energy his group has put into rehab work entitles them to not cooperate with out-of-town developers in keeping drugs and crime at bay in the neighborhood:"You put $100,000 in those places, you're gonna lose it all and get run out. You're not coming into this community. We'll just pull our hands back. The drug boys come here looking for work, we'll say [there’s] no work. Any minute you'll see crack hidden behind the steps."

Thanks to Ted Leimbach

Wednesday, May 11, 2005 in Baltimore City Paper


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