The area around Johns Hopkins University Medical Campus in Baltimore was once a vibrant neighborhood, home to middle class families who worked in the canneries, shipyards, GM factory, and Bethlehem Steel mill in East Baltimore. As those business sectors declined, so too did the neighborhood. Many residents moved out, leaving nearly 80 percent of the homes vacant. But Johns Hopkins stayed.
Through a partnership with the community, Johns Hopkins University, the city of Baltimore, the State of Maryland, and the Annie E. Casey Foundation, East Baltimore Development Inc. (EBDI) was created to rejuvenate this historic neighborhood. EBDI has worked with the community and other leaders to acquire land, purchase homes, attract new residents to the area, and improve the overall quality of life for existing residents as part of a $1 billion dollar redevelopment plan.
The plan, which has been underway since 2003, includes a Science and Technology park with more than 1 million square feet of office and lab space, 2,000 new or renovated homes, 80,000 square feet of new retail, shops, restaurants, and the first new public school constructed in East Baltimore in decades. The investment is expected to generate more than 6,000 new jobs for skill levels ranging from high school diplomas to advanced college degrees. The physical improvements are matched with new programs for the residents of the neighborhood. EBDI’s Elev8 program works with students to prepare them for high school, and its Workforce Pipeline program has helped connect thousands to job training opportunities and case management assistance. EBDI is both rebuilding a neighborhood and making it stronger with these programs.
We wanted to “build a neighborhood around institutions that make a difference,” said Christopher Shea, president of EBDI. As the largest employer in the state, Johns Hopkins is consistently ranked as one of the top hospitals in the world and receives more research grants than any other hospital system in the nation. Johns Hopkins is making a difference both inside and outside of its doors. And through EBDI’s work with its partners, the future is looking as promising as its storied past.