Thursday, July 10, 2014


Friends and neighbors,

RHIC has a brand new website.  Check it out below. We will be continuing to develop the site and keep it updated.  Most importantly for readers of this blog, we will be discontinuing use of this blog and posting on the new site under Project Updates. We hope you enjoy the new website.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Another New Face at RHIC - Welcome Alli Lesovoy

Repair the World Fellow Alli Lesovoy has joined the RHIC family through July helping with communications updates at RHIC and a Whitelock history project.

Alli is a San Francisco Bay Area native and is currently a Repair the World fellow in Baltimore. In June 2013, she graduated from University of California Davis with a BA in Sociology and minors in Chemistry and Psychology. Her history of Jewish extracurricular activities sparked her passion for social justice and action. As a Repair the World fellow, Alli has spending 10 months planning and recruiting for meaningful volunteer opportunities throughout Baltimore.  After she leaves RHIC she is off to New York for more adventures.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Welcome Back Anita Prettyman

Last summer, Reservoir Hill resident Anita Prettyman joined RHIC's staff for the summer to coordinate outreach and education on the summer meals program, and identify more sites to offer meals.  Anita's position was part of a city-wide strategy coordinated by the Baltimore Partnership to End Childhood Hunger to increase access the Summer Meals Program.  The sites in our area reported increased use of the program, so the feet-on-the-street approach seems to have worked.

Thanks to support by the Family League of Baltimore, Anita is back with us again this summer working to ensure that families known about the Summer Meals Program.

Monday, June 16, 2014

How can the West North Avenue Streetscape Project design improve the health of our communities? Join the discussion at the 1 July Commuity Health Forum

New face at RHIC and around the community

Noah Erwin has joined the RHIC ranks as a summer intern from Johns Hopkins University.  Noah hails from Tennessee and is a rising junior at Johns Hopkins University, majoring in Global Environmental Change and Sustainability & Economics. On campus, he is active in Real Food Hopkins, a student group that promotes a just, sustainable food system; and serves as the treasurer of his fraternity, Beta Theta Pi. Along with a few friends, he is training for a triathlon at the end of the summer.

Noah will be spending the summer working with RHIC on a number of existing projects.  He helped with finishing touches on the new Girl Scouts mural at German park, and is currently working on the tree inventory.

You'll be seeing Noah around the community for the next six weeks.  Please welcome him to Reservoir Hill.

The 2014 Reservoir Hill Homecoming Was a Wonderful Night

The 2nd Annual Reservoir Hill Homecoming was a warm and festive evening.  Eighty people gathered in the historic Beth Am Synagogue to share good food and participate in a discussion of the book, The Other Wes Moore.  In this book, two people sharing the same name, growing up in similar circumstances end up in very different places in life, having made very different choices. 

Park Avenue resident, Russ Moss, formed a reading and discussion group ahead of Homecoming, so some participants had read the book before attending.  Every table had a list of discussion questions, and Russ led a lively exchange centered around themes and lessons from the book.  It turned out to be an extremely stimulating conversation with a lot of participation.  Attendees represented a wide range of background and brought their experiences to the conversation.  For instance, state Senator Catherine Pugh joined us and brought to bear her experience in public service, in developing a school, and in writing children’s book.  Another person was an employee of the Maryland prison system. Much of the discussion became focused around the intersection of personal responsibility in making positive choices, the environment that supports ones ability to make such choices, and our responsibility in helping create that environment and to better understand the life situations of others.

We look forward to keeping Homecoming as an annual Reservoir Hill tradition.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Designing John Eager Howard Elementary as a Community School

On the 4th of June, the School Design Advisory & Action Team held a public meeting focused on how best to use 3,000 square feet in the new design of John Eager Howard Elementary School for community programming and services

A group of residents, city schools personnel, and others met to discuss the results of the Team's community survey of 100 residents.
There were four main categories of need or interest identified through the survey: Food, Housing Counseling, Art, and Health & Fitness. The participants participated in four small groups, each assigned one of these topics.  They explored what resources currently existed in the community, and what resources pertinent to the topic could be incorporated in the new school.
Reservoir Hill's city planner, Alexandra Hoffman, spoke with the participants about broader neighborhood planning being undertaken by the Department of Planning.  In Reservoir Hill, Reservoir Hill Improvement Council and Neighborhood Design Center have partnered to work with the Department of Planning on such neighborhood planning.

Outreach on ideas for how John Eager Howard as a Community School could benefit the Reservoir Hill neighborhood is ongoing.  For more information contact Erin Bowman at or call 410.225.7547.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Wes Moore Comes to Beth Am Synagogue - 7 June

RHIC Receives 2014 Milch Award from Loyola University Maryland

Reservoir Hill Improvement Council (RHIC) is very proud to be chosen as the recipient of the 2014 Milch Award for Excellence of Accomplishment from Loyola University Maryland.

Erin Bowman, RHIC's School Organizer and Healthy Food Coordinator, received the award on behalf of RHIC at Loyola University's 2014 Commencement Exercises.  She was accompanied by RHIC Board Member Chartruse Robinson to a breakfast with university officials and the following commencement exercises.  Erin, herself a graduate of Loyola University, has been RHIC's lead staff in our partnership with Loyola University.  Reservoir Hill residents may well have seen Loyola University students in the community working on a wide range of projects.  Service learning programs at colleges and universities allow students to have historical and modern context for their coursework in urban studies, while providing valuable services to uor city neighborhoods. In  this case, Loyola students got connect their coursework in urban health and faith with real services in Reservoir Hill.

Erin Bowman with the 2014 Milch Award
We are grateful for our relationship with Loyola University and for the university's recognition of our work.  Discussions are already underway for the next phase in our partnership, and We look forward to Loyola's continued partnership and presence in Reservoir Hill.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

A New Vision for West North Avenue Developing at the Grassroots

If four hour planning sessions don’t sound like an exciting evening to you, last night’s event to build a vision for a pedestrian-friendly, bike-friendly, community-friendly West North Avenue certainly might have changed your mind.  About 50 neighbors and supporters from communities north and south of North Avenue gathered at the John Eager Howard Recreation Center in Reservoir Hill for a session led by Neighborhood Design Center looking at how to improve the stretch of North Avenue from Charles Street west to McCulloh.  The group was diverse and the conversations were dynamic.

In small groups we created ideas for what we saw North Avenue as being like in 2024, then as a full body we built a large set of options for changes needed to achieve those visions.  In small groups again we prioritized sets of those needs.  Then we discussed barriers to a dynamic North Avenue and how we might address those barriers. For instance, one group undertook the issue of the Howard Street bridge, while another looked at transportation issues.

The West North Avenue Streetscape Project is helping re-weave ties between communities along West North Avenue.  The more we work together the more we learn about each other and the more we achieve for our part of the city.
We will be reporting in more detail on the project at the 3 June Reservoir Hill Community Meeting.  Also, there will be further opportunities for public input into the design under development, and reporting out on progress at community meetings.  Watch for notices. We look forward to the participation of everyone in crafting this plan.

If you have questions, or for more information contact Rick Gwynallen at the RHIC office, 410.225.7547, or by e-mail at .

Join us for the 2014 Reservoir Hill Homecoming

Please join us for a evening of good food, stories, and fellowship among Reservoir Hill’s neighbors and friends.

Plus, you can join a new reading and discussion group that will be part of Homecoming.

Reading & Discussion Group Forming in Reservoir Hill

Author, Wes Moore’s book “The Other Wes Moore” is the kick-off reading in and will be discussed on Sunday, May 18th (late afternoon …between 4:00 and 6:30 pm) at The Homecoming celebration (see above notice).  Everyone is welcome as a start-up member of this reading/discussion group.

Wes Moore, will be speaking at Beth Am on Saturday, June 7th.  His appearance is part of an ongoing effort to strengthen our diverse community’s fabric.  Many of “The Other Wes Moore “s live here in Reservoir Hill and elsewhere in Baltimore.  Books, reading and thinking outside of an immediate box can influence which Wes Moore Life choice is made.  A community reading/discussion group can be an enlightening tool for positive life choice outcomes, if we make it so!  We are only limited by the millions of books and writings we can choose to read, discuss and grow together from.  Your input and suggestions are welcomed.

Copies of the paperback edition of The Other Wes Moore can be purchased The Children’s Bookstore, 737 Deepdene Road410.532.2000, or at Beth Am Synagogue, 2501 Eutaw Place on Sunday 11 May, 11:00 am – 1:00 pm.  The book is offered for the special price of $9.  When purchasing at Beth Am payment must be in the form of a check made payable to Beth Am.  No cash or credit cards will be accepted.

To join or for more information on the Reading & Discussion Group, contact Russ Moss, (410) 728-1893, (410) 404-4482,

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Reservoir Hill Community Yard Sale THIS WEEKEND

Reservoir Hill Homecoming - 18 May

Please join us for a evening of good food, stories, and fellowship among Reservoir Hill’s neighbors and friends.

Next Third Thursdays in Reservoir Hill Gathering - 15 May

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

What Type of Programs or Services for Reservoir HIll Should the New John Eager Howard School Offer?

Reservoir Hill neighbors and partners,

Thank you for all you've contributed to John Eager Howard's school design process. We've come a long way in the past year in building a school that truly reflects the beliefs and values of the neighborhood.

Many of you attended the school design review on February 11th and got to see the 3 schematic drawing that were presented by Cho Benn Holback and Associates. We are now in the process of waiting for the official recommendation from BCPS, and will keep the community posted as we hear more.

In the school design, there is the opportunity to set aside 3,000 square feet for community space. The idea is for these spaces to be open to the entire community (regardless of if you have children in the school or not), but need to be programmatically focused. Can you all help us gather feedback regarding your interests in specific supports, resources, and opportunities by sharing this survey link below or collecting paper surveys?

If you would like to have a focus group scheduled with members of your organization, we would love to do that as well.

Thank you for all of your support. Please feel free to contact me or any member of the design team with any questions or concerns. 


Erin Bowman
School Organizer & Healthy Foods Coordinator
Reservoir Hill Improvement Council
2001 Park Avenue
Baltimore MD 21217
O: (410)225-7547  C: (860)368-8252

Friday, April 18, 2014

Help Re-Design North Avenue - Come to the 7th of May Workshop in Reservoir Hill

Re-imagining West North Avenue

A set of visioning workshops for West North Avenue are taking place over the next few weeks as part of a Baltimore City Department of Transportation project organized by Coppin Heights CDC, Councilman Nick Mosby(7th District), Druid Heights CDC, Neighborhood Design Center, and Reservoir Hill Improvement Council.  The workshops bring together residents to discuss how they'd like to see the North Avenue streetscape look.  

What kind of landscaping and lighting are desired?
How wide should North Avenue be?
How can it be more pedestrian and bicycle friendly?
What can be done to encourage local business to set up shop on North Avenue?
How can a new design help connect the communities along North Avenue in positive ways?


The workshop for the stretch of North Avenue from Charles Street to McCulloh is scheduled for:
Wednesday, 7 May; 5-9 pm
John Eager Howard Recreation Center
2100 Brookfield Avenue
Baltimore, MD, 21217
A free dinner will be served

Workshop dates and locations for different stretches of west North Avenue are below.

We live and work in a wonderful part of Baltimore City.  This is an opportunity for the communities and institutions along West North Avenue to work together to create a North Avenue streetscape that best serves our communities, and in the course of working together, get to know each other as neighbors, and build new, creative relationships between our communities and institutions.

For more information on the project
For the stretch of North Avenue from Charles Street west to McCulloh,
Contact the Reservoir Hill Improvement Council office at
410.225.7547, or write to

The inaugural Third Thursdays in Reservoir HIll event was a warm, creative evening

Even when you see someone frequently, and you think you have fixed them in your personal landscape, you don’t always know what’s really deep inside them.  At last night’s inaugural Third Thursdays in Reservoir Hill gathering there were some revelations.

Every Third Thursday we will hold a cafĂ© style gathering where neighbors and friends can mingle and meet new people over good food and entertainment.  Each month we will feature Central West Baltimore artists and businesses.  This time, Baltimore Poets’ Society held a Poetry Slam, and Liam Flynn’s Alehouse and The Open Plough Project provided the food.

Anthony Pressley, president of the Baltimore Poets’ Society and Director of Community Resources at Druid Heights CDC was Master of Ceremonies, as well as one of the published poets who read that night.  There were many fine offerings, but for all you Reservoir Hill residents and supporters, there were two people you may have seen around a lot, but probably never knew they were poets.

Carl Williams works at John Eager Howard Recreation Center.  If you go in and out of the recreation center much you’ve seen him. We here in the RHIC office certainly have.  But his powerful poem gave us a privileged peek at a part of himself we never knew about.
The same can be said of Chelsea Monet from New Lens.  We always knew Chelsea was creative, but her depth as a young poet came to us as completely new side of her.

Then there was this amazing young man. Nine year old Amir Brown read his own poem on a lesson “drawn” from his own crayons, that everyone is needed to draw a full picture of the world we live in and want to create.
Anthony Pressley and Karen Griner-Smith (also a published poet who read that night, and grandmother to Amir), accompanied by Roger Murray on keyboards, concluded the evening by leading everyone in a group singing of Lean on Me.
Ernest Hemingway referred to the “iceberg theory,” that is to say that the crux of a story rests below the surface. The part we see is only the tip of the iceberg.  Somewhere in the swirling waters of life below what we see moves a much larger story, hidden from view, and only hinted at in fleeting moments.   All these folks gave us a look at some of what lies beneath the surface part we see of them, and for that we thank them all.

Also, thanks to Liam Flynn’s Alehouse and The Open Plough Project for providing the delicious vegan Potato-Leek Soup and vegan Butternut Squash soup.  Check out Central West Baltimore’s own Irish pub at 22 West North Avenue.

Thanks to the Baltimore Poets’ Society for running a great show.

As always, thank you to John Eager Howard Recreation Center for the welcoming space and providing the drinks and utensils for dinner.

15 May – John Eager Howard Recreation Center, 2100 Brookfield Avenue
Watch for the Notices! – (But the Poetry Slam returns a part of the evening)