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UNION SQUARE NEWS February 2004
FROM THE PRESIDENT
I am very excited to have been elected as the new president of the Union Square Association. I have been in this neighborhood for 3Ĺ years. I came here because of the beautiful homes and the park which were located close to University of Maryland, where I was in graduate school. This is a good time for our neighborhood due to a number of factors. Here are some of the assets I see: Real estate values are rising, in part because of purchasers from the DC market who recognize the good housing value our area offers. People are moving in and fixing up houses, bringing us new neighbors, new friends and new playmates for our children. The University of Maryland is building a biotech facility on Baltimore Street, just west of Martin Luther King Boulevard, which will lead to improvements in that immediate area, creating a demand for restaurants and better housing. Bon Secours foundation, to our west, is working busily to develop youth skills and employment, to support parents and children, and renovating buildings to provide good affordable housing. Union Square has just held our 18th annual cookie tour. We are halfway through major planting improvements to the square; and we just saved a building from demolition at 4 S. Gilmor Street by our advocacy efforts to the city. The association's goals for the next year include using our housing committee to address vacant houses and force the city and absentee owners to either renovate or sell the houses to someone who will do so. We will also complete new planting work on the square; update our bylaws; and seek grants to renovate our gazebo, one of only two in the city! If interest warrants, we may even revive the Garden Tour. There are other worthwhile projects we want to support, and we want your thoughts and suggestions about what your block wants to do... so, I hope to see you at our next general meeting, which is usually the first Wednesday of the month, at 1401 Hollins Street. Greg Grass 2004 Officers and Board President Greg Grass Vice President Tonya Osborne Treasurer Phyllis VanMeerhaeghe Recording Secretary Barbara Heckman-Sauer Corresponding Secretary Chris Everett Director of Historic Preservation Richard Pickens At-Large Director Cynthia Pointdexter At-Large Director B.J. Schaen-Cazer Union Square Association General Meeting Wednesday, February 4, 7:00 pm 1401 Hollins Street Agenda Topics: Annual Progressive Dinner Call for participation on committees Suggestions on speakers/topics for future meetings Discussion about Garden tour in June Updates on several ongoing neighborhood projects and issues 2004 Garden Tour? Longtime residents may remember a summer event called "The Secret Gardens of Union Square." For our new residents, this was a neighborhood garden tour held in June. Due to a variety of issues, the tour has been on hiatus for the past few years. In 2003, the revival of this event became a topic of discussion. What's the point? Compared to much of the city, a number of homes in our neighborhood have wonderful backyards and gardens. Many commuters and potential homebuyers rush by and only see our historic housefronts. The tour revealed our "secret gardens" - some with fountains, little ponds, sculptures, terraced flowerbeds, multilevel decks, whirligigs, gazebos, exotic plants, patios and entertainment spaces. Within the community, the event provided an incentive to beautify the neighborhood and it brought residents together in a common effort. For visitors, the event also promoted Union Square and its many features. The garden of the Mencken house was open, there were activities in the park, the fountain was on, and artists and galleries had displays. Realtors scheduled open houses. It was like a summer version of the Cookie Tour... without the slush. Can we do it? It's up to you. In order to succeed, the event needs a commitment of a dozen gardens. It may be bitter cold right now, but Spring is around the corner. It won't be long before we'll be enjoying our gardens. Many of us will put in our usual beds of annuals - and a few of us will finally add some new feature we've put off for years. It might be an arbor, a water feature, a deck, a topiary, or some artwork. If you feel up to the challenge, come to the meeting (or contact a board member) for more information. The tour is better if adjoining gardens are included so, if you can enlist a neighbor, all the better. And if we can't organize the tour, we can still look forward to Spring when we stop to smell the roses. Real Estate Listings $650,000 1420 W. Baltimore Commercial SOLD $450,000 1518 W. Baltimore Commercial #BA4705650 $250,000 1409 Hollins 5BR/2BA #BA4698303 $179,900 1518 Hollins 3BR/3BA SOLD $175,900 1236 W. Pratt Commercial #BA4344076 $165,000 35 S. Carlton 3BR/2BA #BA4624108 $150,000 1120 W. Lombard Commercial #BA4552253 $150,000 1046 W. Lombard Commercial #BA4633048 $139,900 1322 Hollins 4BR/3BA #BA4662354 $121,900 1138 W. Lombard 4BR/2BA #BA4633048 $ 99,900 1308 W. Lombard Commercial #BA4684690 $ 94,999 1709 W. Lombard 4BR/4BA #BA4650030 $ 85,000 1419 W. Baltimore Commercial #BA4637967 $ 80,000 7 S. Stricker 4BR/1BA #BA4662980 $ 75,000 1316 W. Baltimore 3BR/1BA SOLD $ 65,000 1128 W. Pratt 2BR/1BA #BA4591821 $ 54,000 1007 Hollins 2BR/1BA #BA4451430 $ 49,900 1226 Hollins Shell #BA4627816 $ 31,900 123 Schroeder 3BR/1BA SOLD $ 22,500 1412 W. Pratt 3BR/1BA #BA4260903 $ 15,000 1228 W. Pratt 1BR/1BA #BA4279947 Trash Schedule The 2004 Trash Schedule for Union Square (including a print-ready version) is now at: www.union-square.us. Hard copy versions can be picked up at the monthly meeting, or can be delivered to your home if you call and leave a message at 410.428.7549. There will be no trash pickup on Thursday, February 12th (Lincoln's Birthday) and no pickup on Monday, February 16th (Presidents' Day). NOTE: This means there will be two consecutive trash days with no pickup - please plan accordingly. Otherwise, there will be the usual Monday and Thursday collections: Mondays, February 2nd, 9th, and 23rd; Thursdays, February 5th, 19th, and 26th. February Calendar Black History Month Monday February 2nd Groundhog Day Wednesday February 4th Union Square Association General Meeting 7 PM 1401 Hollins Street Saturday February 7th The Great Baltimore Fire (1904) Thursday February 12th President Abraham Lincoln's Birthday Saturday February 14th Valentine's Day Monday February 16th Presidents' Day Sunday February 22nd President George Washington's Birthday; Islamic New Year Tuesday February 24th Mardi Gras Wednesday February 25th Ash Wednesday New Beginnings 2004 The Union Square Association enters the new year with a new Board and ambitious plans to continue the history of neighborhood improvements. What actually gets accomplished depends entirely on what each of us is willing to do. Among the association officers, Tonya M. Osborne, Esq. is our new Vice President and is also relatively new to the neighborhood - she just moved here last February. Tonya's comments: "I grew up in the suburbs and briefly lived in another historic city neighborhood prior to moving to Union Square. To me, Union Square offers urban living at its finest. The Square, including its lovely gazebo, generously-proportioned housing, convenient location, and diversity are nearly unparalleled. I look forward to working with the board and our residents to preserve and enhance this extraordinary community." Like all the other officers and board members (see the listing on the previous page), Tonya is a volunteer who wants to make a difference. There are many additional opportunities for other residents to volunteer our talents in this common effort. The association committees are now forming and seeking participants. Even the number and type of committees is open to input - again, dependent on our interest and involvement. Existing activities include the Christmas Cookie Tour, Progressive Dinner, Easter Egg Hunt, Sowebohemian Arts Festival, Historic Preservation, Fundraising, Sanitation, Zoning and Code enforcement, Neighborhood Watch, Public Relations and Marketing, Beautification, the Union Square Online website, and this newsletter. All these efforts are seeking interested volunteers. Proposed activities include updating the by-laws to meet non-profit requirements and improve functionality, seeking grants for community purposes including renovation of the park pavilion, and the possible return of Citizens on Patrol and the "Secret Gardens of Union Square" Garden Tour. Additional initiatives are encouraged if we are willing to participate and do the work. Improvement begins with individual effort. We all need to be good citizens and good neighbors. Are you doing your part? Have you ever called 311 to initiate a city service? The next level begins with each block identifying and working on their own issues. Does your block have a block captain? Consider your personal contribution to our shared quality of life - then come to a meeting and join the efforts of your neighbors. We'd love to see you! Support our Market! HOLLINS MARKET Stop in at Hollins Market. You'll be surprised at what you've been missing. This newsletter produced by volunteers and is contributed as a service to the Union Square Association (USA). To contribute an article, idea, or suggestion, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org - or visit Union Square Online (www.union-square.us), go to the message board and post a note in the Newsletter Forum. All comments (positive or critical) are welcome!