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    Blog Posts (4)
    • Westport CEDC/Harbor West Collaborative Annual Meeting

      July 11, 2020 11:00AM Join us to hear Senator Bill Ferguson, Reverend Kobi Little President Baltimore NAACP and hear about our projects and programs. Participants will be able to ask questions and register priorities via online poll. Browse our Annual Report Presentation Watch our Annual Meeting online on Zoom/Facebook Live (open to the public, no log-in needed)

    • Website Redesign

      The WestportCEDC.org website has been given a full renovation to better communicate our community's needs for COVID-19 and to better establish the Harbor West Collaborative as a partnership of non-profit organizations across the Harbor West neighborhoods of Lakeland, Mount Winans, Saint Paul, and Westport. For all news, please visit our public Facebook page. Found a bug? Have a recommendation? Please email our local webmaster and community fellow, Justin Fair, or e-mail us

    • Community Events now posted on our Facebook Page

      For our various events, programs, and all CEDC news, please visit our public Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/pg/harborwestcollab/posts/ No log-in is needed to view these bulletins. Questions? Please e-mail lisa@westportcedc.org.

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    • Community Land Trust FAQ | Westport CEDC

      Community Land Trust Community Land Trust Answers relate to the CLT model rather than specifics within Westport as our organization is still being developed. For details on how the Westport CLT operates, please email Lisa R. Hodges-Hiken. Frequently Asked Questions ​ During the early years CLTs rely on things like grants from foundations, individual donations, and funding from federal, state and local government sources to cover their start-up and operating. Once their holdings reach a substantial scale, some CLTs have been able to generate enough revenue internally (via ground lease fees, lease re-issuance fees, membership dues, and fees for service) to cover most of their stewardship responsibilities, especially the cost of monitoring and enforcing the occupancy, eligibility and affordability controls that encumber a CLT’s housing. How does a CLT get its funding? ​ CLTs acquire land in three ways. (1) They purchase land at its market price using funds they receive from public sources or funds that are donated or loaned from private sources (i.e. foundations, individuals gifts or financial institutions) (2) CLTs receive land as a gift from a private donor or the city government (3) CLTs acquire land for a below-market price through a mechanism known as a “bargain sale,” where the seller accepts cash for a portion of the land’s value and claims a tax deductions for the remainder of the land’s value. Where does a CLT get its land and houses? ​ The community in Community Land Trust is most often a geographically designated area. It is up to the members of the CLT to determine where those boundaries are drawn. The CLT is accountable to everyone in those boundaries and everyone within those boundaries can be a member of the CLT. What/Who is the “community” in Community Land Trust? ​ A CLT is responsible directly to its members. Members of the CLT affect the decisions of the CLT through representatives on the board. Some CLTs put larger decisions (i.e. how to use a parcel of land) to a referendum that all members vote on. How is a CLT accountable to the community? ​ To be a member you must live within the boundaries of the community where the CLT is operating. CLTs are democratic organizations accountable to its membership. How much members are involved in decision making in the CLT is up to the membership. Some CLTs have membership primarily elect a representative board, while others conduct frequent referendums where every member gets 1 vote to make large decisions. Some CLTs have a nominal membership fee. Other CLTs charge no fee and consider every resident within the boundaries of the CLT to be an automatic member. What does it mean to be a member of a CLT? ​ The board of a CLT is made up of three types of representatives: 1) People who live in a CLT house (2) CLT members who live in the community but not in a CLT house. (3) Non-CLT members that represent society at large. Who makes up the board of a CLT? ​ Every CLT determines its own priorities for who will be the principle beneficiaries of the CLT’s activities. Many CLTs only sell to people with incomes below a percentage of the Area Median Income or first time buyers. Who gets to buy CLT homes? ​ CLTs preserve the affordability of homes over long stretches of time through a number of mechanisms. How do CLT homes remain affordable over time? 1) CLTs control the price for which a CLT home can be resold. Every CLT crafts its own resale formula, tailoring it to meet the social priorities of the organization, the social needs of its community, and the economic realities of its real estate market. Regardless of the formula that is used, the sale price is usually lower than the home’s market value. This below-market price is passed on to the next homebuyer maintaining the relative affordability of the CLT home one resale after another. 2) The land on which they are built is protected from fluctuations in land market valuations by a legal ‘asset lock’ that is a fundamental part of a CLT’s structure. ​ Retaining ownership of the land accomplishes several goals. First, it means that the buyer does not have to finance the cost of the land when purchasing the home. Second, it ensures that the land trust will have the right to repurchase the home whenever it comes up for sale at the resale formula price. When a person purchases a house from the CLT the specifics of this relationship are defined in the ground lease. Why does a land trust sell the house but not the land under it? ​ A ground lease is a document the CLT and a homeowner sign that defines the roles and responsibilities of both the CLT and the homeowner. There are two key elements of a ground lease: (1) The purchaser buys the house, but not the land under the house. The land is leased from the CLT. (2) If a homeowner decides to sell their land trust home, the sale price will be based on a resale formula designed to maintain affordability for future owners while providing some equity growth to the seller. The ground lease allows the homeowner secure, long-term rights to use the land. CLT homeowners have exclusive use of the land, and they have full responsibility for the property. The homeowner must pay a nominal lease rate. The lease rates are different for each CLT, but are typically nominal, ranging from $1 a year to $100/month. With all CLTs the ground lease gives the homeowner full use of the land and support services from the CLT. The ground lease is renewable, can be transferred to the family’s heirs, and ensures full rights of privacy. What is a ground lease? ​ Yes. All CLTs use a Resale Formula to determine the max price for which a CLT homeowner can sell the house. This Resale Formula guarantees a growth in equity without allowing home prices balloon in the community. If I own a CLT house will my equity in the house grow? ​ The Resale Formula is a mechanism decided on by the members of the CLT for limiting the inflation of housing prices in the CLT’s community. Typically an initial Resale Formula will be decided on in the community process of building a CLT. After that, the CLT, the board and/or the general membership can adjust the Resale Formula when it’s deemed appropriate. Two examples of resale formulas used by some CLTs across the country are “indexed formula” or a “shared appreciation formula.” In the first, the resale price of a CLT home increases at a rate that is pegged to annual changes in area median income, blue collar wages, consumer prices, or some other index. In the second, the resale price of a CLT home is determined by adding a percentage of the home’s appreciated market value to the price initially paid by the homeowner. For example, if the home appreciates in value by $40,000 between the time of initial purchase and the time of eventual resale, the seller would be paid $10,000 over and above the purchase price if the CLT’s Resale Formula limited the sale price to 25% of the house’s appreciation What is a Resale Formula – and how does it work? ​ Yes. Most CLTs allow, even encourage, their homeowners to make capital improvements to their homes as long as the CLT is notified in advance of the proposed improvement and as long as the improvements are designed and constructed in compliance with local zoning and building codes. Can CLT homeowners make major improvements after purchasing their homes? ​ Yes. With most CLTs the amount of money a CLT homeowner puts into major improvements to the house (i.e. remodeling the house, adding an addition, modernizing the electrical system) is added to the re-sale price in the resale formula. Will the cost of major improvements done to a CLT house be added to the selling price? ​ Although homes for sale through a CLT are nearly always more affordable than market-rate housing, very few low-income or moderate-income households will be able to buy a CLT home out of their own savings. They will need mortgage financing. Consequently, CLTs work with local lenders to secure mortgages for their homeowners. Often, banks are more willing to lend to people than they otherwise would have been if they know the potential homeowner has the support structure of a CLT. How do individuals who want to buy CLT housing obtain financing? ​ Under the “standard permitted mortgage” used by most CLTs, the CLT must be notified by a lender whenever a CLT mortgage holder is in default. The CLT is then given 60 days to cure the default on the homeowner’s behalf. If the CLT does not cure and the lender proceeds to foreclosure, the CLT is then given an opportunity to purchase the foreclosed building. Even in a mortgage meltdown, the CLT retains ownership of the underlying land. This places the CLT in a strong bargaining position with respect to both the homeowner and the lender. What happens if a CLT homeowner defaults on his/her mortgage? ​ The CLTs often have a preemptive option to purchase any homes that are located upon its land. The CLT may exercise this option itself, purchasing the home and reselling it to another income eligible buyer. Alternatively, the CLT may waive its option to purchase and allow the homeowner to sell her home directly to another income eligible qualified buyer. In either event, the CLT homeowner is obliged to sell the home for no more than the maximum price determined by resale formula stipulated in the homeowner’s ground lease. What happens if CLT homeowners want to resell their homes and move away? ​ No. Embedded in the CLT ground lease is an occupancy requirement stipulating that a CLT home must be continually used and occupied by the owner as his/her primary residence. Under special circumstances, with prior approval of the CLT, a homeowner may sublet all or part of the home. The duration of this sublet, however, and the amount of rent a homeowner may charge are both controlled by the ground lease (and the CLT). Can the buyers of CLT homes become absentee owners, subletting for a profit? ​ CLTs acquire land specifically for the purpose of developing housing, services and facilities as identified by the community. CLTs are not land conservation organizations. CLTs neither remove land from the development process nor exclude individuals from using the land for residential, commercial or recreational purposes. Will a CLT remove land from the market and just sit on it? ​ No. CLT homeowner/leaseholders pay property taxes. Will a CLT remove land and buildings from local tax rolls? ​ Yes. Often CLTs will include a stipulation in the ground lease that allows for the passage of the house as inheritance to a new owner. The land however, remains the property of the CLT and the new owner would take on the original ground lease. Would someone in a CLT house be able to pass the house onto a person of their choosing? ​ CLT homeowners are typically responsible for the payment of all real estate taxes – on both the home they own and the land they lease. CLT homeowners typically qualify for the same homestead exemptions, rebates or deductions that are made available to any other homeowner, since CLT homeowners have “beneficial title” to their property. Some municipal tax assessors take account of the permanent cap that is placed on the resale price of CLT homes and, accordingly, tax these homes at a lower rate than unrestricted, market-rate homes. Who pays the property taxes? ​ Have more questions? E-mail us

    • Mount Auburn Cemetery | Westport CEDC

      Community-supported stewardship In May 2020, Westport CEDC received a Baltimore Regional Neighborhood Initiative (BRNI) Grant for stewardship in partnership with Mount Auburn Cemetery's owners, Sharp Street UMC. Primarily, the CEDC's MOU with Sharp Street will allow the CEDC to assist the Church in grant management for site improvements and to better communicate the heritage and history of the historic burial ground, as outlined in recent community planning proposals. The BRNI funds will be used specifically to implement short-term capital infrastructure projects. The MOU is now complete and a project management plan being developed. ​ As Sharp Street UMC permits, prospective projects could include long-term infrastructure improvements, hyper-local shepherding of volunteers to aide in groundskeepers' regular maintenance of the grounds, seasonal heritage tourism tours, and future partnerships with area educators working in African-American studies. To learn how you can support planning these efforts,and to learn more about the cemetery, please read the following compilation, updated June 2020: Community-Supported Stewardship Our own environmental sanctuary Why this project How you can get ivnolved Thanks and credits Contents: Our environmental sanctuary own “The weeds and tilted monuments of the grounds of Mount Auburn convey an underlying beauty; a spirit of poetry, imagination, and discovery. Views to the harbor, the hills and contours of the land, and the winding paths, which create mystery and relief, give additional meaning to a city landscape often too simplistic to comprehend.” -Diane Jones Established in 1871 at its current site as Sharp Street Cemetery, and renamed in 1894, Mount Auburn Cemetery has for over a century served Baltimore's African-American residents as a tranquil, pastoral burial grounds. In addition, the grounds have served for intimate family reunions, anniversaries, memorial celebrations, worship tours, and regular family visits. Once a source of pride for Baltimore’s Black community; off-and-on throughout the years, Sharp Street UMC has proudly raised funds to keep the grounds’ ownership in local, Black hands --a distinguished feat! However, at over a century a half in age, the cemetery continues to show its age. ​ In 2020, in partnership with Westport CEDC, the grounds are included as an action item in the forthcoming to begin a transformation towards a proper Memorial Park via a long-term communal ecological and restoration plan. Doing so will allow cemetery leadership to align regular maintenance and on-site security needs with the CEDC's capacity to fundraise for community-supported engagement. This adjustment will reposition specific areas within the landscape to a proper conservation preserve, thus recognizing the historic resonance of the grounds with modern ecological restoration strategies. Harbor West Master Plan, ​ Imagine where rather than simply having seasonal lawn cuttings, the grounds can, in areas where visitors are sparse and where archiving has taken place, become home to a biodiverse group of native perennials, wildflowers, tree sapplings, and other wild bush. ​ Imagine Saturday morning nature walks, birding tours, and weaving the cemetery’s gravel and earthen streets into the wider trails network of the Gwynns Falls and Middle Branch’s trails. ​ Imagine an online resource to map a grave or file a locate-request, to learn the stories of Black Baltimoreans, and to schedule regular class field trips where tour groups can reflect the history of both those interred at the cemetery. Together, these online resources can better curate visitors' experience to honor those whose lives shaped today's Harbor West neighborhoods (Westport, Lakeland, Mount Winans, and Saint Paul) as well as neighboring Cherry Hill and all of Baltimore. Why this project "In...my research, [unclaimed lots'] lack of care came to serve not as a sign of direct neglect and abuse by property owners but more so of a sign of forgottenness and unknown property ownership” -Dr. Kami Fletcher Email us to add your name Browse History Archive How you can get involved We invite you to learn more about this project by Join us on a seasonal nature walk or shuttle tour from the Middle Branch Park to the cemetery. Add your name to support the following ideas: Contribute to the cemetery’s gravestone map and library Share your relative’s story on a digital museum blog series Attend a film screening of an independent documentary on the cemetery, “Sacred Ground” Attend a community meeting of the Westport Neighborhood Association at the Boys & Girls Club across from the cemetery on the other side of Florence Cumming Park (beside Westport Public Housing) Give feedback on planned site renovations, gravestone restorations, trail signage, and pathways, Contribute to the CEDC's cemetery restoration endowment, and Attend Sunday service at Sharp Street UMC on Saratoga St in Upton's Marble Hill neighborhood. Browse Ecological Proposal (Powerpoint) Mr. Fair's Student Proposal Plan Project Status: For now, this project is in the and will be further developed in the forthcoming . We welcome your input and recommendations. beginning planning stages Harbor West Master Plan ​ A cemetery preliminary action plan was proposed in Fall 2019 by a graduate student at Morgan State University School of Architecture and Planning, who later joined Westport CEDC as a community fellow, Mr. Justin Fair. His proposal, "Mapping the City of the Dead," sought to continue the cemetery's mapping component and to incorporate a Fall 2018 semester-long class studio project that resulted in its own proposal for a "Cultural and Ecological Restoration Plan". You can browse that proposal and all of his later research on his project website including a list of and cemetery websites a press list with bibliography. Credits and Thanks to: Compilation text and photos assembled by Justin Fair, MCRP 2020 with Morgan State University. Project "Mapping the City of the Dead." Project website at with additional photos shared on https://www.soulstrong.com/project/gis-cemetery-baltimore/ http://soulstrong.com/?p=114756 ​ Diane Jones. “The City of the Dead: The Place of Cultural Identity and Environmental Sustainability in the African-American Cemetery.” Landscape Journal (30-2:9). Accessed September 17 2018 from . http://lj.uwpress.org/content/30/2/226.refs Kami Fletcher. "The City of the Dead for Colored People: Baltimore's Mount Auburn Cemetery, 1807–2012." Order No. 3587770, Morgan State University, 2013. https://search-proquest-com.proxy-ms.researchport.umd.edu/docview/1427854270?accountid=12557. ​ Jeanne Hitchcock. “Mount Auburn Cemetery Project Clean-Up” Proposal (2011). Mount Auburn Cemetery Corporation/Sharp Street UMC. ​ Nancy Sheads. "Resurrecting Mount Auburn Cemetery." Maryland State Archives. http://mountauburn.msa.maryland.gov/index.aspx Top of Page Community-supported stewardship Our own environmental sanctuary Why this project How you can get involved Credits and Thanks

    • Urban Farm | Westport CEDC

      Urban Farm Under the leadership of Baltimore native, Mike Tyson, Westport CEDC is coordinating an innovate urban cultivation project on two lots along Paca St. in Mount Winans. The project is funded by the Baltimore Regional Neighborhood Initiative (BRNI). Once ready for launch, the farm will be available for personal and community gardening to residents throughout the Harbor West neighborhoods. The project began formation in 2019 and a groundbreaking is expected in mid-late 2020, as COVID-19 allows. This page will be updated shortly. Contact Us Heading 1

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© Harbor West Collaborative, an initiative of the Westport CEDC

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