DRC receives $912K from Department of Housing
Wednesday, 16 October 2013 11:47

Money to go to housing projects in Dundalk

by Ben Boehl

    The Dundalk Renaissance Corp. (DRC) is used to receiving grants, but the one awarded last week was a little larger than usual.
    The Maryland Department of Housing last week awarded grants totaling $3.75 million to four nonprofit organizations; the DRC received $912,000.
    “These funds are a great opportunity for us to create new partnerships to help boost Dundalk’s housing market to attract our next generation of residents, offer new incentives for current residents to reinvest in Dundalk, and help support our Main Street businesses,” said Amy Menzer, executive director of the DRC.
    According to a DRC press release, the group will use the grant to launch a partnership with private developers to increase the volume of renovated homes in Dundalk, offer $250,000 in home renovation loans in targeted neighborhoods, partner with Civic Works to increase homeowners participation in the BGE Home Performance with Energy Star Program and to create $155,000 in an operating fund that will involve the hiring of a project manager and to strengthen the historic Dundalk Main Street.

“We are proud that Dundalk has been chosen to be included in this initiative,” Menzer said. “It is an opportunity to shine a light on the need for reinvestment not only in Dundalk, but in all of our region’s older suburbs.”
    Community development groups in  Reservoir Hill, central Baltimore and southeast Baltimore also received grants.
    The grants were announced by state House of Delegates Speaker Michael Busch and Housing and Community Development Secretary Raymond Skinner on Oct. 7.
    “These grants support innovative and forward-thinking approaches to neighborhood revitalization in Baltimore City and Baltimore County that other communities across the region and our state can emulate,” Busch said in a statement.
    “A strong region needs strong neighborhoods.”
    John Ayres, president of the New Norwood Holabird Association, has been a big critic of the DRC.
    “The only reason the DRC is getting this federal grant money is because they are kissing the a*s of the social liberal political machine that has ruled down here in the southeast [part of Baltimore County],” Ayres said.
    Ayres has long criticized the DRC for a lack of transparency and said that DRC books have not been open to the public.
    He reiterated such claims in a recent interview with The Eagle and said he wants an independent group to decide which community members will get the funding for housing projects in order to avoid any appearance of favoritism.
    “There needs to be an outside oversight committee that should be set up that does not involve [the DRC],” Ayres said. “[They] should not be allowed to make a decision. It should be fairly distributed to the people that need it.”