We have created a viable and sustainable alternative to the vacant housing crisis that exists in Baltimore City. Our solution: repurposing vacant properties by converting them into facilities that house organizations operating community based programs. Our evidence of viability is demonstrated by our success in converting 4 abandoned houses into a community martial arts and fitness facility that now serves the families and children living in the surrounding neighborhood.
We successfully raised $400,000 in donations to finance the construction costs of the new facility. This new space has increased our capacity to offer more educational programs and facilitate more collaborative activities with community partners. The building has dedicated space for administration & management, classroom activities, exercise classes, martial arts training, and general purpose space for additional activities. We now have the space to fully implement all of our core programs and services outlined in our strategic plan.
We've created a custom built martial arts facility using 4 abandoned homes in the Collington Square neighborhood in East Baltimore.
We bought the block
In December of 2015 we purchased 4 abandoned houses from the City of Baltimore Vacants-to-Value Program. In April of 2016, we broke ground and began what would be a 2-year construction period to complete the building and be operationally ready. The entire construction process was carried out by the Executive Director of COR along with volunteers helpers and children in the community.
We began the project with only $80,000. Over the course of 2 years an additional $320,000 was raised to complete the various phases of construction.
Our project was the first of its kind undertaken in a very distressed neighborhood. We hope that our success serves as an example that others can adopt and improve upon. We are currently working on a second facility, an entrepreneurship center, that will be converted from 2 additional abandoned properties that we purchased. With such a huge inventory of vacant houses in Baltimore City, we leveraged the opportunity to provide a critical alternative to tackling the blight while also offering a public benefit.