Midtown Community Benefits District has a new executive director who is garrulous and enthusiastic about the job. He brings with him years of special business and neighborhood district management experience.
Eric Souza came in with the new year, replacing Nan Rohrer, who after three years left to pursue consulting work with a focus on parks and project management for non-profits. Souza comes from Waterfront Partnership in south Baltimore, where he was director of operations. Previously he was a vice president for Block by Block, a consulting company that manages and supports urban business districts.
“I’m still learning the ropes,” but I look forward to becoming an active and passionate voice for the community,” said Souza, who lives near his old job in Locust Point with his wife and two daughters. He started in the restaurant and hospitality industry. He coaches soccer and is active in the Locust Point community organization.
Midtown is a supplemental benefits organization for the four neighborhoods it serves: Bolton Hill, Madison Park, Mount Vernon and Charles North. Since 1996, property owners in those neighborhoods (and renters indirectly) have paid a special tax to finance Midtown’s activities, now supported by a street-level authorized staff of 15, plus 2½ administrators and services through a contract with Block by Block.
“We work closely with citizens, businesses, institutions and city agencies to ensure that the district is a clean, green, and safe space for all to live, work, and play,” said Souza. Residents and businesses are billed a 1.3 percent per $100 special assessment each July, in addition to city taxes. That adds up to $418 a year based on a mid-level property assessment of $317,000. Those monies underwrite Midtown’s $1.5 million budget.
A 19-member board of directors draws representatives from each neighborhood as well as the district’s city council member, Eric Costello. Bolton Hill residents Lee Tawney and Fritz Meyer are on the board, as is the BHCA president. MCBD provides these services across a 144-block area:
- Cleaning streets, gutters, sidewalks and alleys (with machines and by hand)
- Removing bulk trash and hazardous waste materials
- Emptying 182+ public trash cans 6 days/week
- Collecting leaves in streets, sidewalks and parks
- Maintaining trees in the parks and on the street (watering, pruning, weeding)
- Assisting with street tree plantings
- Cleaning approximately 25 parks and public spaces
- Providing safety patrols
- Advocating for district-wide needs and representing the communities’ interests
Constituents may request services online at https://www.midtownbaltimore.org/request-services or by phone at 410-528-1512.