Baltimore City Department of Planning e-News - April 2022

Having troubles viewing this email? View as a webpage.

the compass - city of baltimore department of planning

Baltimore City Department of Planning eNewsletter  - April 2022

A Message from Chris Ryer, Director


This week, we are launching our Comprehensive Plan public process! We are excited to engage Baltimore residents over the coming months as we begin a public conversation to refine our plan’s vision.  

The plan will guide development of the City over the next ten years and beyond. The plan is based on community input and values related to land use, transportation, housing, community facilities, and other important topics that impact our neighborhoods. 

The plan will build on the Mayor’s Action Plan, but look at a longer time horizon (10+ years). In particular, the plan will focus on the Equitable Neighborhood Development pillar, identifying what equitable neighborhood development looks like and how to achieve it. 

The plan will focus on how to make Baltimore better for current residents so that they want to stay, benefit from staying, and are inspired to invite their friends and family to move to Baltimore. By focusing on the needs and desires of current residents, the City will naturally grow over time.

More information on the content of the plan is available via this link. A one pager summarizing key information about the planning process is also now available via this link, and a FAQ has been made public.

Please read on below to learn how to get involved.

From Open House events to an online survey to storytelling, there are many avenues to get involved this year.

Chris Ryer, Director

Storytelling Ambassadors Launch as Part of Our Baltimore Engagement

We all have a story to share. 

The Storytelling Ambassadors will engage their neighbors, family and friends in conversation about their experience living in their Baltimore neighborhood. 

We are looking for Ambassadors to amplify the voices of their own communities, particularly communities most impacted by disinvestment historically and today. 

Ambassadors will be trained to facilitate these conversations using storytelling as a mechanism to generate ideas and tap into the collective wisdom of our communities. 

 There are two options to participate in this project:  

  1. Residents may sign up to lead as a Storytelling Ambassador via this link. Ambassadors commit to attending two trainings and host two storytelling spaces between June and the end of the year. Each Ambassador will receive a honorarium ($250) for their time.
  1. If you would like to simply share your story, sign up to participate here, and we will connect you to a storytelling space nearest to you. 

About our Chief Storyteller, David Fakunle 

Dr. David Fakunle is the co-founder and CEO of DiscoverME/RecoverME, an organization that utilizes the African oral tradition to encourages the claiming of one’s narrative for personal healing and growth. 

A Baltimore native and current resident, David has been a professional storyteller for over 25 years and honed his craft under 'Maryland's Official Griot,' the late Mary Carter Smith. In addition to public health research, David shares storytelling through his teaching at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the University of Florida Center for Arts in Medicine. David empowers his audiences to acknowledge and appreciate their natural storytelling abilities, while embracing the understanding, wisdom and transformative power that their lived experiences can exude.

Dr. Fakunle will train 50 Baltimore Storytelling Ambassadors. The training will cover story structure, narrative orientation, and the facilitation of conversation. 

Ambassadors will develop their own storytelling technique and approach, and will be prepared to facilitate storytelling spaces in their community. 

Through storytelling spaces, Ambassadors will offer their fellow Baltimore residents genuine opportunities to inform and guide the Our Baltimore, Comprehensive Plan, while tapping into their authentic wisdom and perspectives. 

Learn more about Dr. Fakunle:

The Beacon Dedicated in May

Last Mile Park

The Beacon at Last Mile Park will be dedicated in May. 


Here's why we're excited:

65% of hard and soft construction costs went to Black-owned and minority-owned businesses!

Revives public art beyond murals: Raises the bar on what's possible and should be fair expectation in Black working-class communities

Connects neighborhoods: Step forward in connecting north-of-the-tracks neighborhoods with $1.8 billion EBDI investment

Public safety, public safety, public safety! Area under tracks was previously dark with broken lights; North of the track's residents reported feeling afraid to walk to amenities in Eager Park

Builds wealth: Builds market value for neighborhoods and lays foundation for welcoming future consumer spending to Black working-class neighborhoods

More information on the Last Mile Park project, led by American Communities Trust in collaboration with communities in the Broadway East area, can be found here.

Our Baltimore: Spring Open Houses Scheduled!

The Department of Planning is hosting a series of 3 in-person and one online open house this Spring.

Open House

Meet the Our Baltimore Fellows

As part of the process for Our Baltimore, the Department of Planning has hired fellows as Community Design Aides to support our Community Engagement Leadership team. Learn more about this team here:

The fellows will work with the Department of Planning through December 2022 and support our public engagement work.

Ta'Kesihia Barnes is native of the Sandtown-Winchester neighborhood in West Baltimore, but currently lives in the Wakefield area. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Architecture and Environmental Design from Morgan State University in 2019.

She hopes to continue her education in architecture with a focus on urban design and planning. She's currently an architectural designer in the international/planning studio at BCT Design Group in downtown Baltimore. Her interests include volunteering, research, art, and anything Bmore. She is passionate about supporting residents and local government in creating a more sustainable and equitable Baltimore for everyone.


Roxy Blocksdorf has been a resident of the Pigtown area for almost 14 years. This spring, Roxy will be graduating from Mount Holyoke College with a degree in politics, with a focus on urban politics and studies. She is thrilled to be coming back to Baltimore to work with and learn from the amazing folks in the Department of Planning, and with Baltimore’s extensive networks of community organizations.

Prior to joining the Department of Planning, Roxy worked with the South Baltimore Gateway Partnership, TasteWise Kids, and the Baltimore Regional Housing Partnership. Outside of work and school, Roxy enjoys running and exploring new parts of the city, as well as baking and reading (her favorite reading spot is the Mount Vernon Place park in the springtime!). 

Clarissa Chen is an incoming graduate student at the University of Maryland Social Work whose passions include community organizing, art, food, nature, and people. She has grown to love Baltimore over the past seven years, and is excited to work with residents of the city to imagine a more connected city through the Comprehensive Plan.


Cecilia Gonzalez lives in the historic neighborhood of Franklin Square in Southwest Baltimore where she has been involved in community organizing for the last couple of years and advocated for development without displacement in Poppleton.

Cecilia is dedicated professionally and as a volunteer in engaging and empowering communities, so development can be inclusive of their voices in decision-making.

Cecilia is a native of Quito, Ecuador – a city girl at heart. She has a bachelor's degree in Food Science and has worked for over 10 years in international development focusing on the linkages between agriculture, nutrition, and health. Her studies and work and have allowed her to live in several countries and visit many more. This experience and friendships with people from all over the world have given her a heightened appreciation for diversity, culture, and language learning. Cecilia is married to Nate, her husband of 15 years.

SW Baltimore Playground Opens; Dedicated to Fire Fighter Racheal Wilson

The Concerned Citizens of Boyd-Booth worked tirelessly for many years to dedicate a playground, mural and park space to Racheal Wilson. Fire Fighter Racheal Wilson was the first female fire fighter to die in the line of duty in Maryland, when she succumbed to her injuries from a fire training exercise on Feb. 9, 2007 at a house that was formerly on the site of the newly-created park.

Finally completed in April, the park will serve as a community meeting space for years to come and is part of Baltimore's Green Network.


Updates from Our Sustainability Team - Save the Dates!


Date: Wednesday, June 8th 

Time: 4:00 - 7:00 PM 

Location: Shake & Bake, 1601 Penn. Ave. 

Description: The city's annual Sustainability Open House will feature interactive sustainability displays, free giveaways, free food and much, much more! The theme of this year's event is The Art of Climate Action. Come learn how Baltimore is becoming more sustainable, more resilient and more equitable. You won't want to miss this FREE event full of fun, educational and engaging activities for all ages. Register to attend by clicking here 

Vendors: We are looking for organizations across the city to table and share their community-based initiatives that support sustainability and social equity while building resiliency among the populations they serve. If your organization is interested in tabling, please complete this form to register. 

FY2023 African American Heritage Preservation Program grant round is now open!

The African American Heritage Preservation Program (AAHPP) provides grants to assist in the preservation of buildings, sites, or communities of historical and cultural importance to the African American experience in Maryland. The AAHPP is administered as a partnership between the MHT and the Maryland Commission on African American History and Culture (MCAAHC). The program typically receives an annual appropriation of $1,000,000 for grants per year. 

This spring, the MHT and the MCAAHC will hold two in-person overview workshops and three virtual Q&A workshops for prospective applicants.  

Overview Workshops:

4/28/22 11am-1pm Location: Washington County Free Public Library, 100 South Potomac St., Hagerstown

Q&A Workshops:

5/5/22 6pm-7:30pm (virtual)

5/19/22 11am-12:30pm (virtual)

6/2/22 6pm-7:30pm (virtual)

To apply, register for a workshop, view grant documents, or for more information, visit our website. 

The deadline to apply is July 1, 2022 at 11:59pm. 

For assistance in developing project purpose, programming, and advice on site interpretation please contact Chanel Compton, Director of the MCAAHC, at or 410-216-6190.

For assistance with developing technical preservation, construction, and budget components of your project, or with technical questions about the application, please contact Ivy Weeks, MHT Capital Programs Administrator, at or 410-697-9559.

Spring Open House Series Kicks Off the Our Baltimore Process

The Department of Planning is hosting a series of 3 in-person and one online open house this Spring.

These are come-as-you-are events – you can stop by anytime between 6-8 PM and stay for as little or as long as you like! Children are more than welcome! 

The Spring Open Houses series will focus on refining our themes and defining equitable development broadly. RSVP via this link. With any language or accessibility needs/questions, please reach out to directly. 


801 Bridgeview Road 


3701 El Dorado Avenue 

June 15, 2022  A. Hoen & Co. Lithograph Building 

2101 E Biddle Street 

June 21, 2022 


Additional engagement opportunities will continue throughout the year ahead. You can sign up to participate in the storytelling initiative; sign up to host a meeting with your community group and use our meeting-in-a-box tool; or express interest in our fall engagement series – which will focus on identifying ideas, recommendations and content in the plan by theme. 

Upcoming Commission Meetings.

4/20/22 - Sustainability Commission

The Commission on Sustainability is a 21-member body, overseeing the implementation of the Baltimore Sustainability Plan. 

Meetings are held monthly, currently via WebEx, and open to the public. Meeting agendas can be found here.

4/28/22  - Planning Commission 

The Planning Commission is responsible for maintaining land use plans for the City and reviewing all amendments to the Zoning Ordinance. The Planning Commission meets on Thursdays throughout the year. 

Agenda and WebEx information is available via this link.

If you are unable to participate, you may submit written testimony to

5/10/22 - Commission for Historical and Architectural Preservation (CHAP)

Since 1964, CHAP has enhanced and promoted the culture and economy of Baltimore through the preservation of buildings, sites and neighborhoods. CHAP meets on the second Tuesday of each month. 

Information and an agenda for the meeting will be available here.

5/12/22 - UDAAP 

The Urban Design and Architecture Advisory Panel’s role is to provide the Planning Commission and the Department of Planning design review expertise in the areas of urban design, architecture, and landscape design.

The agenda, meeting notes, and presentations for UDAAP meetings are made available here.


Baltimore City Planning

417 E. Fayette Street, 8th Floor

Baltimore, Maryland 21202


department of planning