Baltimore Focusing On Families

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City leaders and nonprofits in Baltimore focusing on families as they attempt to halt the city’s population decline, says Natalie Sherman at The Baltimore Sun.

Between 2000 and 2010, the city’s population decreased 4.6 percent to just under 621,000, the smallest decrease in decades. But among those of school age — between 5 and 17 — the population plunged nearly 23 percent, the sharpest drop for that age group of any of the state’s jurisdictions.

As part of the new “Way to Stay” effort, Live Baltimore nonprofit, which works as the city’s residential marketing arm, identified 20 “five-star” family-friendly neighborhoods with good schools, affordable, larger homes, active parents’ groups and pedestrian access to shops and restaurants. The list includes neighborhoods that work up the spine of the city, from Locust Point, to Midtown and Madison Park, through Barclay, Homeland and Lake Evesham.

There are a lot of people saddened by the riots in Baltimore, none more so, I suspect, than the staff at Live Baltimore, for the riots are right near Madison Park and Midtown. All over the country, the movement to the suburbs from the downtown has halted. Young professionals and millennials are moving back to the city. They like the amenities of city life, being close to their jobs, the arts, restaurants, the architecture, and improving schools and access to alternative schools.

The riots have the potential to stop that movement in its tracks. With unemployment high, the movement back to the cities creates jobs: construction jobs, service jobs, and rising real estate prices. Local leaders need to get creative to solve the problems of neighborhood rage. They need to find ways to make the neighborhoods safe, the schools good, and jobs available to all who want work. They need to inspire pride in the city and in each other.  This is not a time for politics. This is a time for long term solutions to problems that are common to us all. It starts with respect for private property and the rule of law.

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