City Eyesores to Become Baltimore Food Hub
Some old municipal pumping station buildings in east Baltimore have been neglected for decades, but several community groups are coming together to turn them into an asset once again.
The three buildings along the 1800 block of Oliver Street in east Baltimore, which have stood empty and dilapidated for years, are about to get new life when they're transformed into the Baltimore Food Hub.
"We're excited. Anytime we have any development in the New Broadway East footprint, we're excited about it," said Eric Booker of the New Broadway East Association.
A group of several nonprofits and businesses are behind the change. They plan to restore the historical buildings and the surrounding land to make them useful again as a canning commissary, urban community farm and a kitchen incubator to give small business owners shared commercial kitchen space for them to work and grow their businesses.
"Kitchen incubators provide all kinds of resources to help people get access to affordable loans, places to sell their products, and connecting them with opportunities to sell to larger-scale buyers, as well as business counseling," said project manager Greg Heller.
As those businesses grow and expand, they'll also be creating jobs for people in Baltimore. Another building will be dedicated to workforce development.
"There's this huge hospitality and culinary industry that's already looking for a trained workforce. So, this campus is both going to be helping those food entrepreneurs create jobs and also training people to go into the jobs that are already out there in the culinary hospitality industry," Heller said.
Members of the community association couldn't be happier. The project will bring jobs and revitalize a public eyesore, as well as provide fresh local food -- something that's very much needed in that area, which is known as a food desert.
"People don't eat right. We don't have restaurants to go to. We have corner stores that we go to. So, when you have something like this to come to our neighborhood, we have options now. So we're happy this amenity is going to come to life," Booker said.
The project is expected to get under way in the spring or summer of 2014. Construction is expected to last nine months.
View the original article | Author: WBALTV Baltimore