Saying that development in downtown Baltimore’s traditional retail area needs a push, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake appointed a Westside czar today, Brian Greenan, who will work to coordinate the city’s efforts to revive the dilapidated area.
As “Westside Coordinator,” Greenan will work with the Mayor’s Office of Economic and Neighborhood Development, the Baltimore Development Corporation, business owners, developers and the community, Rawlings-Blake said “to help revitalize the Westside and create jobs and opportunities there.”
Rawlings-Blake announced Greenan’s appointment at the weekly Board of Estimates meeting, following the board’s approval of a $90,000 a year contract for Greenan to lead the city’s long-stalled effort to revive the derelict district, once home to its major department stores.
Greenan, who has been a Project Manager for the Maryland Department of Transportation, and who coordinated Transit Oriented Development for the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, begins the job on June 1.
Greenan’s appointment comes after a study of the Westside by the Urban Land Institute, commissioned by Rawlings-Blake and conducted in December. Among their suggestions, she noted this morning, “they recommended that we create a strategic partnership with the University of Maryland Baltimore.”
One of Greenan’s duties, the mayor said, he will be organizing and staffing a Westside Advisory Committee, which will meet monthly and be co-chaired by Rawlings-Blake and Jay Perman, president of the University of Maryland, Baltimore.
Greenan will also be charged with developing a plan “for the implementation of significant capital investment and real estate development projects, coordinating various short-term and long-term rehabilitation efforts, and actively engaging a broad coalition of residents, businesses and stakeholders,” Rawlings-Blake said.
Unstated, but implicit, is Greenan’s responsibility to push forward the plan for the so-called Superblock, the area where a group of developers plan to build a $150 million mixed-use project that involves demolishing some 19th and early 20th century buldings that some preservationists, civil rights leaders and other critics say should be saved. Rawlings-Blake has made the development group’s Lexington Square project a priority of her administration.
According to the mayor’s office, Greenan has worked as a planner for Neighborhood Community Services of Baltimore, as Assistant Director for Banner Neighborhoods Community Corporation, and as a homeless outreach coordinator for the Downtown Partnership of Baltimore. Greenan has also served in Niger, West Africa as a member of the Peace Corps in 2004-2005.