Leadenhall Community Outreach Center Opens in Sharp-Leadenhall

| August 1, 2018 | 0 Comments

The ribbon was cut this week on the Leadenhall Community Outreach Center in Sharp-Leadenhall. The $1,050,000 community center was built over the last eight months on a formerly vacant lot next to Leadenhall Baptist Church at 1021 Leadenhall St. The center is part of Caves Valley Partners (CVP) $300-million Stadium Square redevelopment project.

Leadenhall Community Outreach Center is a vision of Reverend Doctor Alvin Gwynn, Jr., who is the pastor of Leadenhall Baptist Church. He began discussing the idea with CVP six years ago. CVP contributed $550,000 to the project and the State of Maryland contributed $500,000.

The community center will offer a variety of programs including workforce development, veteran services, an annual community health fair, a “Community Eat Together” program, and homelessness intervention. These programs will be delivered through partnerships with the United Way of Central Maryland and other local organizations such as the Maryland Food Bank. The community center is also working with the South Baltimore Gateway Partnership to secure grant funding for programming as well.

“This community center was fueled by the neighborhood leadership – they saw a need to provide residents with access to programs that would provide better education, job opportunities, and access to goods and services during difficult times,” said Mirmiran in a statement. “That’s exactly what we’ve created together here today and we are excited to watch this community center grow into a valuable resource for families in South Baltimore.”

“This project has been six years in the making and I am absolutely elated to be celebrating the opening of this very important community fixture,” said Rev. Gwynn Jr. in a statement. “Our programs are designed to help this community grow by giving people the skills they need to succeed and be happy – we believe that happy people build happy families that are poised for success.”

Mirmiran met with Pastor Gwynn before announcing Stadium Square. “The goal of that initial meeting, beyond just becoming acquainted, was to make it clear that our intention was not to displace residents, and to get feedback about how to make Stadium Square as inclusive as possible,” said Mirmiran at the groundbreaking in December. “To the surprise of many, the answer was not to push for more affordable housing, though we are creating affordable housing for veterans and police officers here; to donate to individual causes; or to pay anyone consulting fees or any other payments to support the project, but rather to ensure the project would provide opportunities for current residents.”

“Our conversation progressed and the neighborhood leadership detailed a vision for a community center that would provide Sharp-Leadenhall residents access to job training, its children to after school programs focused on skills like science and technology, improved access to healthcare for all residents, activities for seniors, and a food bank as a safety net for those that needed it from time to time,” added Mirmiran.

Pastor Gwynn said at the groundbreaking that the vision for the Leadenhall Community Outreach Center did not start with him but with his predecessor Dr. Samuel James who began the South Baltimore Relief Center in 1932. “It was during a time of depression and there were few opportunities available for people to have a sustainable way of life,” said Pastor Gwynn. “We are building on that foundation today.”

Stadium Square is on three blocks of South Baltimore and Sharp-Leadenhall located between Cross St. on the north, Race St. on the east, Leadenhall St. on the west, and both sides of Ostend St. to the south. The project will have approximately 600 apartments including an affordable apartment building for veterans, three renovated rowhomes providing affordable housing to police officers, 2,000 parking spaces, 450,000 sq. ft. of office space, and 75,000 sq. ft. of retail when completed.

Already completed at Stadium Square is the 299-unit Hanover Cross Street luxury apartment building with 14,000 sq. ft. of retail, as well as the 72,000 sq. ft. office building 145 W. Ostend St. which is more than 50% leased.  The next project at Stadium Square will be the repurposing of the former four-story Vac Pac building at 150 W. Ostend St. into a 30,000 sq. ft. office building with ground floor retail.

CVP is also working with the community and Baltimore City Recreation and Parks on a new Master Plan for Solo Gibbs Park.

Photos courtesy of Caves Valley Partners 

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Founder and Publisher of SouthBmore.com, longtime resident of South Baltimore, and a graduate of Towson University. Diehard Ravens and O's fan, father of three, amateur pizza chef, skateboarder, and "bar food" foodie. Email me at Kevin@InceptMM.com and follow me on Twitter at @SoBoKevin.