This past month community members and visitors to Highlandtown A&E District enjoyed a month of fun, free events. Outside, Santa waived from his Santa House and took pictures with visitors, children and families walked through Candy Cane Lane on their way to explore the Highlandtown Train Garden at the local fire house. Overall, 4000 visitors came to the district! Highlandtown has also begun work to create a sidewalk seating area next to High Grounds Coffee on Eastern Avenue. Overhead new lighting was installed that illuminates the seating area, nearby bus stop, and future mural site, which has received excellent feedback from the community.
Additional projects will be happening through spring 2014, including permanent outdoor seating, completion of a new mural, and improved lighting to Conkling Plaza. It has been a good month for Highlandtown: 6 new gooseneck lights were installed, and the mural artist was selected for the mural at East & Eastern Avenues.
The simplest projects can make a big difference. When planning the mural/lighting/seating area at East Ave & Eastern Ave, the most practical part of the project was the lighting. Although it was difficult to predict the impact it would have on the space, especially since the other components weren’t completed yet, the community has really taken notice and given many positive compliments. Since, the owner of High Grounds Coffee submitted a facade grant application to fix up his building. This project should be completed later this spring!

The Bromo Tower A&E District has received a lot of press coverage on the artistic crosswalk installations that were created last month and described in more detail in the blog post from November 2013, such as The Atlantic Cities’: Baltimore’s Got Some Playful New ‘Hopscotch Crosswalks’,  The Architect’s Newspaper Blog: Baltimore’s Hopscotch Crosswalk Colossus, and Fast Company’s: Hop, Skip, And Jump Across The Street With New Artist-Designed Crosswalks. Moreover, the grant process has been so helpful in allowing the Bromo Tower A&E District to identify and continue to refine its desired outcomes – and also the incredible potential – of this project. Additionally, bringing its arts advisory committee together to discuss the value that will hopefully derive from this project has been a very important exercise and community-building activity that facilitates a sense of ownership for each group over the outcome of the project.

Preparations are well underway for the spring TRANSIT project at Penn Station Plaza in the Station North A&E District. Though things may seem quiet, there is a flurry of work in the Station North offices as they work on a communications and marketing plan to maximize the project’s reach, order paint for test sampling, work through the many practical logistics of the project, and lay the groundwork for our community outreach strategy once the residency begins in full. The project will be officially announced in the coming weeks… stay tuned!
Station North feels very fortunate to have a number of partners that support the work at Penn Station Plaza. Representing a range of sectors and interests, these partners have lent their professional expertise and resources to the project as planning gears up.  These partnerships will help extend the impact of the project. Station North is confident that they will be helpful to engage new audiences in the district, and strengthening the bonds with its existing audiences.