Blog: Union Square Online

Discover the historic (1847) neighborhood of Union Square, Baltimore's best-kept secret.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

CUPS offers Up Events In February

Our sister neighborhood, Hollins Market, is home to CUPS coffeehouse. CUPS opened up last year and according to their website "CUPs (Creating Unlimited cup at a time) is a nonprofit coffeehouse that seeks to employ at risk youth and young adults and serve at-risk communities.The mission of CUPs is to empower young at-risk individuals to be financially independent, purposefully educated, and leaders in their families and communities." For more information about CUPS, please click here.

CUPS has started offering events and here is their current schedule for the month of February:

February 1, 7pm. Music, Poetry and Art celebrating Black History Month;

February 4, 18, and 25th. 6:30pm. Monday blues by local musicians;

February 11, 7pm. Speed Dating. RSVP required; and

February 14, 7pm. Coffee and Chocolate tasting. RSVP required. 

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Thursday, November 1, 2012

Trick or Treat

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Monday, May 14, 2012

Guest Authors Wanted!

Help Wanted: Writers!
As the Union Square Online website celebrates 10 years of serving our community, the blog is seeking neighborhood writers & photographers. Creative volunteers are needed to write approximately a hundred words once a week, once a month, or however often you can. Actually, more words, more frequently from more people would be even better - especially if you can include a photo (or photos) to go with your written contribution.

The idea is to share insights, activities, news and events from our unique community. Join other neighbors who have already contributed as "Guest Authors" and share your own story (or stories). This is a way for potential homebuyers and friends from outside of Union Square to discover us. At the same time, we can all learn a little more about each other.
  • If you're a history buff, this is your opportunity to share some factoids about Union Square.
  • If you have an activity, hobby or club that would interest your neighbors, tell us about it.
  • If you rehabbed or renovated your home, share your tips and tricks so we may all benefit from your experience (and be sure to include "before" and "after" pix).
  • If you own a local business, here's a way to give your enterprise a shout out.
  • If you know a fascinating resident, take a picture and write their story.
  • If you have photos or stories from the Cookie Tour, Sowebohemian Festival, Movies in the Park, or some other neighborhood event, we'd love to see them.
No experience is necessary. Formatting (or spell check) help for your article will be provided if you find the process daunting. Your finished article will publish under your name (or pen name) - or you may choose to just have your name appear as a credit within the article. You may post directly to the blog or you may opt to send your submission(s) via email. Those wanting to whine, gripe, or snipe need not apply. If you want to promote Union Square with upbeat and positive stories, contact Chris Everett to express your interest.

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Children's Spring Celebration and Flower Sale In The Park

This weekend was the Children's Spring Celebration and Flower & Plant Sale Hosted by The Conservancy for Union Square Park (CUSP) & the Steuart Hill Academic Academy Green Team.

There were also some park events hosted by CUSP to celebrate the 165th Birthday of Union Square Park. This included a walking history tour of the neighborhood.

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Sunday, May 13, 2012

Streetscape Planning Meeting 05-14-2012

A message from the USA Streetscape Committee:

Streetscape Planning Meeting 
Monday May 14, 2012 7:30 PM
1401 Hollins Street
Baltimore, MD 21223

Please come out to help us plan and discuss the following projects:

  • Vacant Lot Performance Art Space Project
  • Park Clean Up
  • Lemmon St. Clean Up
  • Trash can giveaway
  • Bloom Your Block

We need many volunteers for these projects. Come out and help keep Union Square clean and beautiful. The Vacant Lots Project is really going to be exciting and move Union Square forward in a positive direction as an Art Community.

Contact Andrea Leahy for more info.

Please spread the word and plan on attending the Union Square Association's Streetscape Committee meeting.

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Saturday, May 12, 2012

Help Fight For Our Children

A message from the USA:
Hello all,

Please join us this morning at a press conference to urge our city council members to include more money for our children in the FY 2013 budget. The press conference will be held right here in Union Square at the corner of South Calhoun and Pratt Streets at 10am. To learn more about the issue, please check out the press release I have pasted to the bottom of this email.

This event is sponsored and organized by the Safe and Sound Campaign. We are lucky to have one of Safe and Sound's lead organizers for Southwest Baltimore, Tyrone Barnwell, living right here in Union Square. Tyrone has asked me to participate and say a few words in support of our children. Please come out and join us.
Chris Taylor


On Saturday, May 12th 10AM at the Corner of South Calhoun and Pratt Streets, the Safe and Sound Campaign will call upon the City Council to use their statutory authority to change the FY '13 Baltimore City Operating Budget.

The City Charter gives the City Council the authority to be full participants in setting Baltimore’s annual operating budget. For years, the council has forfeited this power and works hard to convince the public that it has none. Although the Mayor does have exclusive authority to create the budget, the City Council has the power to negotiate its content by controlling its final adoption.

The City Council passed two resolutions this year (#12-0024 and #12-0025) calling for a net increase of $10.2 million for After School Activities and Summer Jobs for Youth in the FY ’13 city budget.

A resolution, without the follow-up demand to secure funding is a nice sentiment, but doesn't deliver the goods. Therefore, the Safe and Sound Campaign will announce on Saturday, the details of a city wide effort to mobilize residents to give their council representative an inescapable mandate to exercise their power. The Campaign will ask each council member to declare the number of constituent calls they need to receive in order to tell the Mayor they cannot approve the FY ’13 City budget until the additional $10.2 million for After School and Summer Jobs opportunities is included.

"We understand that going against a strong mayoral form of government, without backing, leaves city council members vulnerable to retaliation. However, the status quo is bad for the city and leaves the citizens without any representation in determining how our tax dollars are spent" says Hathaway Ferebee, Executive Director of the Safe and Sound Campaign.

The Campaign is working with a wide range of community organizations, faith institutions and activists to change this unhealthy dynamic. "We are out in the neighborhoods, in shopping centers, barber shops just about anywhere, to make sure the community knows what's at stake and give them the chance to ask their council members to vote for jobs and after school activities," says Tyrone Barnwell, Organizer for the Safe and Sound Campaign.

Council members Stokes and Clarke have already confirmed their attendance to the invitation just sent today, Thursday May 10, 2012. The Campaign expects others to join as well.

"The office of the Mayor does have a lot of power, but together, we the people and council have more," declares Deric Strickland, a Youth Ambassador with the Campaign, in charge of designing postcards to grab the council's attention.
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Friday, May 11, 2012

Children's Spring Celebration in the Park

Children’s Spring Celebration and Flower & Plant Sale

  • Saturday, May 12, 2012 • 10 am to 2 pm
  • Hosted by The Conservancy for Union Square Park (CUSP) &
    the Steuart Hill Academic Academy Green Team
  • Union Square Park (west side between Hollins & W. Lombard Streets)
  • 31 S. Gilmor St., Baltimore, MD 21223

Please join us for children's activities, student-led tours and demonstrations, and a flower and plant sale (10am-12noon) in front of the Steuart Hill school and more!
To celebrate the 165th birthday of Union Square Park at 12 noon there will be An Introduction to the History of Union Square Park walking tour followed by refreshments and a sweet birthday treat!
Kindly forward this invitation to others who may be interested in attending.
Special thanks to the Parks & People Foundation and Baltimore City Recreation & Parks for helping make this project possible.

Interested in volunteering, making a donation or getting involved? Please contact us at
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Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Newsletter May 2012

See newsletter
Union Square News
May 2012 Newsletter (PDF)
     Crime rates are down in the Southern district when compared to this time last year.
     There has been a 27 percent decrease in robberies, an 11 percent drop in aggravated assaults and a 20 percent decrease in total violent crime.
     But there's typically an increase in crime during warmer weather.
     "We're starting to have a little bit of a problem with some burglaries up by Union Square," says Southern Police head Major David Reitz.
     "We need to make sure when we're out walking our dog or talking or just taking a walk, parking our cars, walking back and forth to the stores and to our houses that we're aware of our surroundings."
     Reitz says one of the biggest problems is break-ins to vacant properties...
Click the newsletter PDF link (above) to read the rest of this article.
Jack Baker stands outside the Southern District Police Department. Baker has been president of the police community relations council for eight years. The group works to help reduce crime.
     The relationship between the police and the community is important.
     There's a reason for the current drop in crime, and it's because of the work the community is doing. It's not just the police, says Major David Reitz of the Southern District Police Department.
     "A lot of the arrests come from the information we got from the community," Reitz says. "The houses that we hit; the guns that we got off the streets came from information that we got from citizens."
     At the center of the storm of community involvement is Jack Baker. Baker has been president of the Southern District Police and Community Relations Council for eight years. Each of the city's nine districts has a council. The Southern district consists of neighborhoods from Union Square to Curtis Bay. Every third Thursday council members meet with district brass at police headquarters, located at 10 Cherry Hill Road, to get reports on community crime and provide suggestions to reduce robberies and other deterrents to quality-of-life issues. The meetings are at 7 p.m. and all neighborhood residents are welcome...
Click the newsletter PDF link (above) to read the rest of this article.
Jennifer Bodine shows off her new book, "Bodine's City," while standing inside the Mencken house garden. Bodine's book features the photographs of her father, Aubrey, a long-time Sun newspapers photog. The book can be purchased at
     Jennifer Bodine says her goal is to have her father, Aubrey Bodine, permanently remembered as the great artist that he was.
     In her latest book, Bodine's City, the long-time Sun newspaper photographer's work is highlighted. A book signing was held at the Mencken house on April 21.
     "My father and [H.L.] Mencken were friends," she says. "They were on the Sun papers together. Bodine was on the Sunday Sun, and Mencken was on the Evening Sun. After Mr. Mencken had a stroke in 1949, my father was on the short list of people allowed to come and visit him. So that, to me, speaks to their relationship."
     The author, born in 1948, is Aubrey Bodine’s only child...
Click the newsletter PDF link (above) to read the rest of this article.
     There's a Reiki master in the neighborhood, and she wants to spread a message of stress relief and accelerated healing.
     Andrea Wenger, and other volunteer Reiki practitioners meet every second or third Saturday, depending on the number of scheduled appointments. The sessions are held at The Clay Pots, at 1635 W. Pratt St., between 1:30 and 3 p.m...
Click the newsletter PDF link (above) to read the rest of this article.
     Union Square Association president has a vision of the neighborhood being an attraction for artists and artisans from around the city.
     "This is something we really need everybody's help on, particularly people in the artist community," Taylor says. "We can go to the city and ask to adopt five to 10 city-owned lots in our neighborhood. And we say we want them all at once. Our plan is to clean them, to fence them in, put basic gardens and a couple of benches. And then, we would use them strictly as public performance art spaces."
     Taylor's quick to label this project as long-time and far-reaching, but, he says, it would be a gamechanger for the community...
Click the newsletter PDF link (above) to read the rest of this article.
Union Square residents help clean a vacant lot on Carey street, between Lombard and Hollins streets. The Saturday morning event was organized by the Association and Gallery Church. More than 25 people showed up for the clean-up.
     More than 25 Union Square Association members and representatives from Gallery Church gathered on April 21 to clean the vacant lot on Carey Street, between Lombard and Hollins streets. The Saturday event lasted for five hours.
     "We hope to have a long-time presence here in the community," says Josh Smith, Gallery Church member and co-organizer of the event. "My church is really community-oriented, and we decided to adopt a couple of lots here in Union Square."
     The event is part of the ongoing Streetscape initiative, spearheaded by Andrea Leahy. She reached out to Smith and his church's members, a few who currently live in Union Square.
     Smith said his church is working on being more active in the neighborhood...
Click the newsletter PDF link (above) to read the rest of this article.
     Chris Wyatt, Union Square Association Director at Large, will be resigning this month. She is moving to Houston to further her career.
     We wish her the best in her future endeavors, and we thank her for her community service over the years.
     The board has voted Josh Smith, a four-year resident of Southwest Baltimore, to replace Chris Wyatt as Director at Large...
Click the newsletter PDF link (above) to read the rest of this article.
    FREE - First Saturday of each month starting 10 AM
    Click the newsletter PDF link (above) for more details.
    At Clay Pots, 1635 W. Pratt St. includes contact information
    Click the newsletter PDF link (above) for more details.
  • May 7
    Return posters for show deadline
  • May 14 to June 1
    Poster show at The Charles
  • May 27
    Return posters for auction deadline
  • May 27
    Sowebo Arts Festival
  • June 3
    Sowebo Poster Auction
    Click the newsletter PDF link (above) for more details.
NEWSLETTER SUBMISSIONS article by Ray Williams
Invitation for comments, submissions, suggestions
Click the newsletter PDF link (above) for more details and contact information.

The USA Regular Meeting is at 7:00 PM on Wednesday May 2, 2012 at the NDC, 1401 Hollins St.

Chris Taylor, President; Andrea Leahy, Vice President; Thomas Pointer, Treasurer; Kristine Balazs, Recording Secretary; Ray Williams, Corresponding Secretary; Jacob Booher, Historic Preservation; Querin Brown & Josh Smith, Directors at Large.
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USA Regular Meeting - 05-02-2012

The USA Regular Meeting is at 7:00 PM on Wednesday May 2, 2012 at the NDC, 1401 Hollins St.

Come out and be a part of all of the great people and ideas that are changing Union Square everyday into the best place to live in Baltimore. All are welcome. This will be the last regular meeting until September.

There will be an update from Jim Fendryk, Parks and Recs Construction Project Supervisor, concerning the renovation of the fountain and pavilion in Union Square Park.

Other agenda items include:

  • a presentation from Gallery Church on their plans to adopt three lots on S. Carey St.
  • a discussion about a larger project to adopt 5-8 lots from Baltimore City to use as performance art space
  • an update from Chris Taylor about Southwest Partnership's efforts to stop the clustering of drug treatment services in our area.

This article is based on content provided by an email from the USA.

If you have never attended a meeting, this is your last chance until September. See what you've been missing and discover more about what makes the Union Square neighborhood so special!
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