Remington Home Demolished, Extends Community Garden
By Adam Bednar

The house in the 2600 block of Miles Avenue was demolished as part of Baltimore Housing's Vacants to Value program.

(UPDATE 4:11 p.m.)—A dilapidated Remington home was destroyed to make way for an expanded community garden on Tuesday.

Residents gathered outside, recording with their cellphones as city employees tore down the home at 2605 Miles Ave. that was so neglected that it could not be rehabbed. Now a community garden started by residents will be extended into where the home used to stand.

"It's great excitement.. I'm just thrilled," said Judith Kunst, president of the Greater Remington Improvement Association.

The home was demolished as part of Baltimore Housing's Vacants to Value program, which is intended to rehab or demolish abandoned properties in the city. The initiative is one of the Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake's signature programs and has been used to address blight in North Baltimore neighborhoods such as Harwood and Woodbourne-McCabe. The extended garden is also being made possible by the city's Power in Dirt program, which makes it easier for residents to gain right-of-entry to vacant lots so that they can be adopted and taken care of by the community, according to Ian Brennan, a spokesman for the mayor.

Paul Graziano, Baltimore Housing commissioner, said the city has now demolished more than 600 properties through the program since it started more than two years ago. There are also two properties on the block, one going into the receivership and another being rehabbed, that are being improved through Vacants to Values.

"What it'll do is finish off this block and make it a block that is full off occupied properties, full of homes with families, who are peaceably enjoying their lives in the Remington neighborhood," Graziano said.

Ryan Flanigan, of Remington, is one of the residents who helped to start the garden that will now be extended following the demolition. He said that he was excited to see the garden have the chance to be extended after years of work to get things to grow on the plot of land.

"I mean it's really satisfying, I mean obviously this a huge accomplishment because we've been asking them for years [to tear the property down]" Flanigan said. "And thankfully with the garden being there it put a little more pressure to 'say hey tearing it down won't create just another empty lot.'"