New Bolton Hill strategic plan emphasizes preservation, diversity and inter-neighborhood action

“We come for the architecture and stay for the people.”

That declaration acts as a preface to BHCA’s new strategic plan for Bolton Hill, the first such document in 15 years, intended to guide the association in establishing priorities and interacting with city government and private interests.  The 21-page plan was unanimously adopted by the BHCA board at its April Zoom meeting.

These are its key recommendations:

  1. Maintain Bolton Hill’s distinguished streetscapes, buildings, trees and gardens. Provide more information and support for property owners about historic preservation and renovating properties responsibly. The extensive greening efforts in the neighborhood’s parks, public tree wells, and public gardens should continue.
  2. Continue BHCA’s policy of opposing increases in density in row homes while recognizing the importance of having an array of housing stock in the neighborhood.
  3. Support and broaden community engagement, the pillar of the Bolton Hill community. Strive to live up to the diversity BHCA aims for in its membership, its leadership, and in its wider community engagement.
  4. Expand BHCA support of educational and youth development activities in the neighborhood to attract and retain families with children.
  5. Acknowledge Bolton Hill’s past involvement in systemic racism and make sure that racial and social justice are embedded in all our community’s efforts.
  6. Strengthen Bolton Hill’s relationships with adjacent neighborhoods, which must include not only Mt. Vernon-Belvedere and Reservoir Hill but also Madison Park, Historic Marble Hill, Druid Heights and Upton.
  7. Strengthen BHCA’s relationships with neighborhood institutions, including schools, houses of worship and businesses.
  8. Bolton Hill alone has too few people to support as much retail as residents want, including a much-desired healthy food grocery store within walking distance. However, BHCA should be proactive in supporting existing Bolton Hill businesses and encouraging new ones. In addition, Bolton Hill should be proactive in supporting existing retail in adjacent neighborhoods and encouraging more retail opportunities in those neighborhoods.
  9. Make the BHCA website the central repository for neighborhood information and use it for both existing residents and to attract new ones. If necessary, employ an individual to keep the website up to date.
  10. Continue our present safety and security efforts and develop a Bolton Hill camera network among private cameras facing public spaces while being mindful of protecting civil rights and respecting civil liberties.
  11. Continue to work on traffic calming initiatives throughout the neighborhood.
  12. Develop a central repository of environmental sustainability options.
  13. Advocate for improvements in Baltimore’s public transportation system and examine the role of the automobile in our community in the coming decade.

The plan is intended to provide opportunities for both owners and renters to become involved in the Bolton Hill community, offering “manageable amounts of commitment.”

The committee that drafted the plan was appointed by BHCA President David Nyweide and led by Neal Friedlander.  Other committee members were Charlie Duff, Bill Hamilton, Bonnie LeGro, Jim Prost, Amy Sheridan, Lauren Snyder, Lee Tawney and Nyweide.  They received 470 individual responses to the circulation of drafts and requests for comments from residents.

Nyweide thanked all who participated and said, “I hope it won’t gather dust but will prove to be a useful guide for the association.”  He suggested it be given an annual review.

You can find the strategic plan here.

Bill Hamilton