Clay Street Community Legacy Program

The City of Annapolis developed the Clay Street Community Legacy Plan through extensive discussions with the neighborhood residents and organizations working in the community.  The plan focuses on four goals:

  • Improve the housing conditions and increase home ownership
  • Recreate and revitalize the commercial and community core
  • Improve public safety, facilities, and infrastructure
  • Strengthen community leadership 

The process began in July 2001 when the City’s Community Development Division developed the Clay Street Community Legacy Plan.  This plan incorporated recommendations from the Clay Street Revitalization Plan adopted by the City Council in 1996 and recommendations from the revitalization study conducted by Morgan State University’s Urban Design Studio, Institute of Architecture & Planning.  The Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development required this new plan to apply for funding under the new Community Legacy Program.

Since then, the City has applied annually for Community Legacy funds to accomplish the above goals.  The Community Development Division has been successful every year and so far has received $1,464,975 in Community Legacy funds for the Clay Street neighborhood.  These funds do not include other public and private investments that have been made in the neighborhood over the past nine years.

Beginning with the first goal of improving housing conditions, the City improved the exteriors of 43 owner-occupied units and made interior improvements to 10 of the units.  The City worked with its partners, Homes for America and Habitat for Humanity, which renovated 15 properties using other public and private funds.  Most renovated properties were vacant or former rentals.  Besides public investment, the private sector renovated 24 buildings.  Seventy-five of the privately owned single-family residences have been improved since the City began its revitalization efforts.
Included in the above statistics is the renovation of Town Pines Court. The City was awarded $225,000 to improve Town Pines Court.  Primarily rental property; this 22-unit townhouse development was in dire need of improvement.  The City also used the funds to re-pave the parking lot, complete facade improvements, landscape with new trees, flowers, and fencing, and install a new community sign.  The Town Pines Court Homeowners Association contributed to the project by making a cash contribution, replacing their lighting with street lights that match the street lights installed by the City on West Washington Street and hiring a maintenance company to maintain the improvements. 

The Housing Authority also has undertaken efforts to improve its housing conditions and create home ownership opportunities.  They demolished and rebuilt 50 units of Obery Court and the community center, which was renamed after Zastrow Simms.  They are now in the process of redeveloping College Creek Terrace.  The City recently applied for and received $225,000 in additional Community Legacy funds to help the Housing Authority demolish the remaining units of College Creek Terrace.
Once the redevelopment is complete, there will be 174 units of new low-income housing.  These will be privately managed rental units affordable to low- and moderate-income households.  These 174 units comprise over one-half of neighborhood’s public housing units.  Therefore, over one-third of the neighborhood’s total housing stock will be new and improved. In addition to improving the housing conditions, the City was successful in increasing the number of owner-occupied homes in the neighborhood.  Again, working with its partners, Homes for America and Habitat for Humanity, 23 owner-occupied homes were added to the neighborhood, either through acquisition and rehabilitation mentioned earlier or through new construction.  In addition, Habitat is in the process of constructing 10 new units on land provided by the Housing Authority.  The City’s FY 2008 Community Legacy application supported this project by providing $175,000 to help the Housing Authority demolish public housing to make way for the 10 new home ownership units.

In addition to Community Legacy funds, the City also will contribute Community Development Block Grant funds to help the new Habitat families with closing costs and recently applied for HOME funds ($300,000) to help the families with their mortgages.

Funds also have been used to revitalize the community core.  The City installed a new kiosk, brick crosswalks, streetlights, and flower baskets on West and West Washington Streets as part of the Gateway project.  The kiosk explains the history of the Old Fourth Ward.  Moreover, Anne Arundel County has installed flower boxes in the Whitmore Garage to soften the facade and make the building more visually appealing.  The City also rehabilitated the Stanton Center and installed the Northwest Street Park.

To improve public safety, neighborhood residents formed the Clay Street Public Safety Team in October 2002.  This group successfully revived the Neighborhood Watch program, executed the recommendations contained in the Clay Street Community Safety Plan developed by the Neighborhood Design Center, initiated additional police foot patrols, started Radio Clay Street and Let’s Play Chess, and developed a joint Housing Authority Safety Plan for City public housing.  The team meets at 9:00 a.m. on the third Wednesday of each month at the Stanton Center.

Lastly, to strengthen community leadership, the City helped Town Pines Court residents reactivate their Homeowners Association.  Since then, the group submitted the revival papers, elected a board of directors and officers, and developed by-laws and parking rules.  The Board meets on the third Monday of every month at the Stanton Center.