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Baltimore County News

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Date: Jun 2019

Homes Selected for Revitalization Were Built More Than a Century Ago

Today Baltimore County officials joined with community and nonprofit partners to celebrate major progress in the effort to rehabilitate five duplex homes in the historic Winters Lane community. Today's ceremony took place at 2 and 4 Roberts Avenue, two dwelling units that comprise one duplex structure and are the first units to be fully rehabilitated. They are ready for tenants. Four remaining duplex homes will be rehabilitated in the months ahead.

The Winters Lane Housing Rehabilitation Project has been undertaken to restore and thoroughly revitalize historic homes in a community that was designated a National Register Historic District in 2007. Baltimore County initiated talks with St. Ambrose Housing Aid Center, owner of the properties being improved, in 2015. The County and St. Ambrose have advanced the project as partners, with the County providing financing and oversight while St. Ambrose functions as the developer. The Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development has also provided valuable assistance to the project. 

"I applaud the progress Baltimore County and St. Ambrose Housing Aid Center have made in advancing the Winters Lane Housing Rehabilitation Project," said Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski. "We are providing much-needed and dramatically improved housing in a vital community."

Winters Lane has long been recognized as the nucleus of a historically significant African American community within the larger Catonsville community. The 1880 census reported that Catonsville was home to 498 African Americans, according to "A History of Baltimore County" (published in 1979). “Then as now, Winters Lane stood as the hub of the black community,” in Catonsville, authors Neal A. Brooks and Eric G. Rockel wrote.

The homes selected for revitalization were built more than a century ago and had suffered severe impacts associated with decades of wear and tear. Very tight floor plans and sparse features contributed to the consensus judgment that the homes had become functionally obsolete and were in dire need of rehabilitation. With the exception of key timbers and other components preserved for their historic significance, the homes' interior and exterior materials have been removed and replaced with new, modern materials and amenities.

A historic preservation agreement that governs the project ensures that key architectural features will be retained, including the homes' facade, porch structure and window arrangements.


Veteran Deputy Nominated as Permanent Director

County Executive Johnny Olszewski today nominated Edward Blades to serve as the Director of Budget and Finance, a critical position that oversees formulation of the County budget and manages the County’s finances.

Blades has served as Deputy Director of Budget and Finance since 2012, and has served in the County’s Office of Budget and Finance since 1996. In his role as Deputy Director, he has played a critical role in developing and managing the County’s operating and capital budgets, and he has supervised a talented team of budget analysts. He has implemented various budget and financial software system upgrades and developed reporting structures to generate efficiencies in data collection and analysis.

“Ed is a dedicated public servant who brings to this position years of relevant experience and a wealth of institutional knowledge,” Olszewski said. “He knows County government inside and out, and has been invaluable over the last few months as we managed a challenging budget season and addressed a structural deficit.”

In his role as Director of Budget and Finance, Blades will be charged with managing the annual operating and capital budget formulation process, as well as overseeing:

  • 911 Communications Center
  • Accounting
  • Insurance Administration
  • Investment and Debt Management
  • Payroll
  • Property Management
  • Purchasing
  • Retirement
  • Taxpayer Services
  • Vehicle Operations and Maintenance

In his new role, Blades will also oversee efforts to increase transparency into the County budget. Earlier this month, the County unveiled an Open Budget platform, providing more transparency into how the County spends taxpayer dollars.

Blades has been serving as acting director of Budget and Finance following the retirement of his predecessor, Keith Dorsey, who served with the County for 35 years. He holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, and a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Phoenix.

Keywords: blades, budget, director, ed, finance, name

Short Documentary Highlights How Individuals Impact Aquatic Environments

County Executive Johnny Olszewski donned rubber knee boots and waded into Deep Run at Meadowood Park with County natural resource specialists to give the public a rare glimpse of what lies below the water, and what it reveals about the health of this Lutherville-area stream.

His adventure is captured in a short documentary entitled “Watershed Moments—Keepers of the Stream.” The six-minute video features beautiful underwater and aerial drone footage of local streams and an engaging overview of the County’s water quality monitoring techniques. It presents practical commentary on how all of our actions on land affect the delicate balance of life in our waterways.

“It’s fascinating how our environmental scientists sample and identify tiny aquatic creatures to determine the levels of pollutants in our streams and use this data to drive targeted watershed restoration and outreach,” Olszewski said.

Ways to Watch

Learn more about the video and other County environmental news. View and share the video on FacebookTwitter and Youtube


 
 
Revised September 11, 2017