• May 23, 2024

Baltimore Selling Abandoned Row Houses for $1 to Revitalize Neighborhoods

(Jacob Bruns, Headline USA) The city of Baltimore, Maryland, is seeking to sell off some of the vacant, city-owned row houses for as little as $1 a piece in a last-ditch attempt to revitalize its crumbling, once-historic neighborhoods, the Baltimore Sun reported.

The proposal, backed by Mayor Brandon Scott, includes the sale of over 200 lots for as low as $1 each to local residents who are willing to commit to renovating the boarded-up units.

The city reportedly had a similar program several decades ago, in the 1970s, when confronting a similar situation.

The properties will be sold at that price to those who plan to repair the homes and live in them. Larger developers will have to pay $3,000 in order to acquire the properties.

The program passed by a 4-1 vote in the Baltimore City Council, and the Baltimore Board of Estimates approved the program on March 20.

The only dissenting vote came from City Council President Nick Mosby—ex-husband of the scandal-plagued, now-indicted former city prosecutor Marilyn Mosby. He argued that the program lacked provisions to guarantee that current residents in those neighborhoods were not driven out after the neighborhoods were once again made nice.

“If affordability, and affordable home ownership, and equity, and all of the nice words we like to use are really at the core competency as it relates to property disposition, this is a really bad policy,” Mosby said.

“This is a bad policy because it doesn’t protect or prioritize the rights of folks in these communities,” he added.

Baltimore city officials, however, argued that Mosby was wrong, citing the program’s 90-day window wherein Baltimore residents applying would have a chance to buy into the homes before anyone else.

One thing the report failed to mention, however: why Baltimore was in the current predicament in the first place.

At least in part, rampant crime—along with corruption and municipal mismanagement from city officials like the Mosbys—have caused people to leave Baltimore.

For some time, the crime-ridden city has had difficulty in enforcing laws that would help guarantee civil order, causing people to intentionally leave certain neighborhoods.

That has led to a vicious downward spiral, with the city also seeing its education rates plummet.

In multiple Baltimore high schools, a 2022 snapshot indicated that more than three-quarters of students had an elementary-level reading proficiency.

And state-level tests last year showed that 13 of the city’s 32 public schools had a 0% proficiency rate in math, while in the top-five schools, only 11.4% of students demonstrated proficiency, WBFF reported.

Headline USA’s Ben Sellers contributed to this report.


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