MAC receives $50,000 grant for naval base entrance revitalization
Approximately $3 mil- lion of state funding and awards will benefit com- munities across the state of Maryland this year. Some of those funds will come to the Town of In- dian Head, specifically Naval Support Facility In- dian Head.
As of December 2016, the Charles County Cham- ber of Commerce Military Alliance Council received a $50,000 grant to fund the removal of blighted infrastructure at the entrance of NSF Indian Head.
On Nov. 30, 2016, the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development (MDHCD) announced the fiscal year 2017 statewide awards of two neighborhood revitalization grant programs, provided by the Strategic Demolition Fund and Community Legacy. MDHCD awarded $3.2 million in Strategic Demolition Fund awards for 15 projects in 12 counties and $3.47 million in Community Legacy awards for
49 projects in 18 counties.
Kevin Baynes, director of the community legacy and sustainable communities division of neighborhood revitalization, said the grant is not limited only to demolition, but also geared toward acquisition, ar- chitectural engineering work, infrastructure work and even stabilizing and rehabilitating historic buildings.
“For the particular project in Indian Head, they wanted us to work with them to raze three vacant buildings right outside of the naval facility. That’s something that this program does — it’s addition by subtraction, so often times blight- ed buildings are like cancer. They spread and sometimes by cutting out the cancer it eliminates the spread of such blight,” Baynes said.
In a press release, Maryland Secretar y of Housing and Com- munity Development Kenneth C. Holt said, “The Community Legacy and Strategic Dem- olition Fund programs are two of the department’s most powerful programs for building healthier neighborhoods in Maryland. Whether it’s im- proving the facades on Mary- land main streets, preserving historic buildings or removing blight, these projects will enhance neighborhoods across the state.”
Brian Klaas, member of the board of directors of the Charles County Chamber of Commerce Military Alliance Council, said the MAC is very excited about receiving the grant because blight removal was a major part of the town’s Urban Land Institute recommendations and the funding makes the town, along with the base, poised for growth.
“We began the demolition project that we started a year and two months ago,” Klaas said. “We received finally our letter of grant approval from the state of Maryland in December ... and we are expect- ing to have the funds within in the next three to four weeks to complete the project. We think that fits well with what the town is trying to do in regards to blight removal and we are very proud to be a part of that.”
The Community Legacy Program provides local gov- ernments and community development organizations with essential funding and gap financing for important projects that will strengthen local com- munities, supporting housing and homeownership goals and attracting and retaining busi- nesses.
The Strategic Demolition Fund assists with activities that accelerate economic development and job production in ex- isting Maryland communities by clearing the way for redevel- opment and revitalization.
Baynes said many local gov- ernments often times do not have enough capital or financ- es in order to “raze buildings.” He said the Strategic Demoli- tion Fund will assist with the dollars necessary to do blight elimination particularly where the buildings are very visible — such as right outside of the naval base in Indian Head.
“More importantly it provides opportunity [for local governments] to develop things that could be more aesthetically pleasing and func- tional. Sometimes the vacant building will cut into progress and developers don’t want to deal with going backwards — cleaning up an old vacant lot,” Baynes said.
Baynes describes the oppor- tunity as “just a piece of a big- ger puzzle.”
According to the MDHCD, when the Town of Indian Head became a sustainable community, it made the town eligible for funding sources from many eligible programs to access resources. When the MAC applied for the grant, Valerie Carpenter, Community Legacy Program regional project manager, and her team made a site visit to NSF Indian Head.
“We want companies that are looking to establish a presence on the base and we would like the community to look better as they drove to the facility. That’s why we believe that removing blighted buildings was a great move for us,” Klaas said.
The MAC plans to complete the project this year before moving on to new revitalization projects in town. Klaas said the MAC is looking forward to staying partnered with Indian Head and making sure the base is successful inside and outside of the gate.