This week’s cover story focuses on the revitalization of the Pikesville commercial district. With an engaged community group, a county revitalization effort and a state effort to evaluate a crucial property, it seems all eyes are on Pikesville.
But as you’ll read in Justin Silberman’s story, this won’t exactly happen overnight, especially the redevelopment at the historic Pikesville Armory. State Sen. Bobby Zirkin, who will lead a state commission on the armory — where he attended bar mitzvahs as a kid — said there is much to do before redevelopment is a reality. Environmental and feasibility studies must come first, which will help put a price tag on property cleanup and redevelopment.
But he supports the optimistic goals of community group 1000 Friends of Pikesville, the leaders of which hope to see an arts and entertainment district, the relocation of Pikesville’s library and senior center and ballfields at the armory site.
“We think this can be the gem of Pikesville,” Howard Needle of 1000 Friends said.
It reminds me of a similar effort I covered in Reisterstown as a Patch.com reporter and later with the Jewish Times. In Reisterstown, too, the mom-and-pop shops are not as many in number as they used to be, the community wants to maintain the small-town feel and a group of dedicated residents and business owners organized to do something about it. Community advocacy and government assistance led to some beautification efforts, among other initiatives. While work remains, a number of well-attended community events have popped up in recent years, and an engaged group is still pushing for its vision of Reisterstown.
All involved are operating on the adage, “Good things come to those who wait.” The same could be said of this year’s Baltimore Shabbat Project, which one could say is aiming to revitalize Judaism. While in a smaller time frame than any commercial revitalization project, a year of planning goes into the week of events. As you’ll read in Susan Ingram’s story this week, those activities include challah bakes, community Shabbat dinners and a Havdalah concert with big-name Jewish musicians. In its fourth year in Baltimore, the project aims to reach tens of thousands of Jews to unite in Shabbat celebration.
Planning any large-scale event, whether redevelopment of a corridor or a Jewish engagement project, requires great attention to detail and patience. We’ll soon see the fruits of the Baltimore Shabbat Project’s labor in action. Let’s hope Pikesville soon follows.