A Message from Interim Executive Director, Peggy Smallwood

A symbolic passing of the torch–or trash grabber in this case–from former Executive Director, Michelle Wirzberger, Esq. to Interim Executive Director, Peggy Smallwood

I want to extend a warm greeting to the Midtown Board of Directors, staff, residents, city partners, and the many other constituents who support the mission, vision and goals of the Midtown Community Benefits District.

On Friday, December 8, 2017, we wished our Executive Director, Michelle Wirzberger, Esq., good luck as she left to embark on a new career path with the Baltimore City Police Department. Prior to her leaving, Michelle along with the Board of Directors conveyed their full confidence in my ability to lead the organization in the interim as the search begins for a permanent Executive Director. It was indeed an honor when Michelle passed the “torch” on Friday to lead such a highly energized organization. It is my goal to ensure the continuation of the work that has been accomplished in 2017 as well as covering new ground in 2018.

I believe in our mission and values wholeheartedly and am excited to have this opportunity. For the past 13 years, I have served the organization in roles from Office Manager to HR Director to Deputy Director. This knowledge and experience will be invaluable to me as we work to advance our mission in the short term that will undoubtedly have a long-term impact.

Midtown is fortunate to have an array of talented and resourceful staff ready to assist in moving the organization forward. We are thrilled to have:

Curtis Ritz, Field Operations Manager, who has a long history of hospitality management and has brought a renewed energy to the organization.
Angela Akes, the Administrative Assistant is ready to assist with service requests as well as general service questions.
Stacey Johnson, Community Relations Specialist, will continue to represent Midtown at community meetings and also work behind the scene as our social media “guru.”
Caleb DeMario, Community Greening Coordinator, will continue growing the greening component of Midtown. As a side note, Caleb and his team are diligently working on leaf collection throughout the district. If you have not seen the team on your block, please be patient.
Gerald FauntLeroy, Street Sweeping Team Lead, who has a wealth of knowledge about the district will continue to oversee the manual cleaning team.
Wayne Brooks, Fleet Manager, will continue to play a pivotal role with selecting and maintaining vehicles for optimum service.

Finally, I am looking forward to working with Lieutenant Rob Morris, Safety Deployment Coordinator, to develop proactive measures that will assist in supporting collaborative efforts for a safer district.

We have a great deal of work ahead of us, however, I have every confidence in this talented team! The staff of the Midtown Community Benefits District look forward to working with all of you as we continue the stewardship of transparency, good fiscal management and using your taxpayer dollars wisely.

Thank you for your support,

Peggy Smallwood

A Goodbye Letter from Executive Director, Michelle Wirzberger, Esq.

Dear Midtown property owners, residents, partners and friends:

I’m writing today to say goodbye…and thank you. So here goes:

Goodbye
As of Friday, December 8th, I will be leaving the Midtown Community Benefits District to start a new position with the Baltimore City Police Department. While I will miss Midtown, I am excited to continue my career of public service and to join a great team of folks who are committed to making Baltimore City a safe place to live, work and visit.

Peggy Smallwood will serve as the Interim Executive Director as the Board conducts a search for a replacement. She has worked with Midtown for the past 13 years and has served as the Deputy Director for the last 3 years. I am fully confident that you all will be in great hands with her. No one knows the inner workings of Midtown better than Peggy!

THANK YOU to the RESIDENTS AND PROPERTY OWNERS
Over the last 3+ years that I have led Midtown, I have had the distinct pleasure of meeting many of you. We have worked closely to solve problems and to determine the most efficient, cost effective and sustainable ways of keeping the District Clean, Green and Safe. I am incredibly proud of all that we have accomplished together.

THANK YOU to the MIDTOWN BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Thank you for believing in me and my leadership ability. With your support and encouragement, we have moved the organization forward and made it more efficient, more effective and more professional.

THANK YOU to the MIDTOWN STAFF
Last but certainly not least, I have to say thank you to the Midtown staff for their hard work, commitment to the organization and their willingness to try new and different ways of accomplishing our tasks.

A lot of residents rely very heavily upon Midtown. They expect us to keep their streets clear of debris and leaves. They expect us to help plant, maintain and water over 100 new trees a year. They expect us to service 160 corner trash cans 7 days a week. They expect us to provide 64 safety patrol hours a week. They expect us to remove bulk items as swiftly as possible.

NONE of that work would be accomplished without the hard working and the occasionally underappreciated staff of Midtown. From the folks who walk the streets cleaning the gutters, the littervac drivers, the trash truck drivers, the folks who maintain the parks, the administrative staff who make sure everything runs smoothly and our safety patrol officers who travel down every block of the District to keep us all safe-these individuals are the life blood of this organization and I am eternally grateful for their service and their assistance during my tenure.

I am sure this is not goodbye forever. I will not be far away from any of you as we all continue to work to make Baltimore the city we believe it can be.

Warmly,

Michelle Wirzberger, Esq.

Mount Vernon Quality of Life Meeting Notes

In follow up to the Mount Vernon Quality of Life & Safety Meeting—held on October 24th by the Mount Vernon Belvedere Association (MVBA), the Mount Vernon Place Conservancy (MVPC), & the Midtown Community Benefits District (Midtown)—the below message is a recap of the highlights from the meeting.

The Mayor’s Office is looking to increase and improve homeless services, largely via private investment, as federal funding is increasingly unstable and local funding is scarce. How?

– Increase outreach professionals who build relationships with the homeless and in the community to offer and connect to services.

– Increase case managers to coordinate services for homeless individuals who agree to receive them.

– Increase housing, especially rapid re-housing, bridge housing and safe havens that come with wraparound services; spur private investment in long-term, permanent housing for homeless individuals.

Baltimore Police Department (BPD) is able to intervene ONLY when an individual calls 911. 911 is the best way to get a response.

– If BPD does not respond in a “reasonable” amount of time – based on your judgment, call 911 again and again until they respond. If necessary, lodge a complaint with the supervisor.

– There is no “acceptable” response time from BPD – it depends on call volume and officer availability.

BPD has put in place a number of programs to address issues with the homeless and are hoping to increase capacity to address issues with panhandling as officers graduate from the academy.

– Homeless outreach team: 1 sergeant + 1 officer to address specific homeless individuals, and investigate the root of their situation to connect those who are interested to resources and services.

– Critical incident team: 1 sergeant + 3 officers with a direct line to healthcare clinicians to address specific behavioral and mental health crises. This team performs on-site diagnoses and helps come up with solutions, such as changes to an individual’s medication regimen.

– Law Enforcement Assistance Diversion (LEAD): Diverts low-level narcotic offenses into services instead of arrests. Both arrest diversion and social referrals connect people to wraparound services under this program, including behavioral health, drug addiction services, getting IDs, job training, etc. This program employs 3 case managers and is privately funded.

Important notes:

– When responding to a call, BPD officers will NOT ask the immigration status of anyone involved. Similarly, they are required by law, when moving a homeless person to a shelter or services, to place the individual in a shelter according to the gender that they present.

– When incidents occur with the homeless population, BPD passes information on those individuals to the city’s Homeless Services (i.e. the Journey Home), and the two groups work closely to ensure the identified people receive the services they need.

– Councilman Costello is working to establish incentives for BPD officers to live in the City, thereby investing in the community.

– Councilman Stokes is working to provide legal representation to tenants with housing code violations, which often leads to eviction and homelessness.

– Private individuals can register their home surveillance cameras with BPD’s CityWatch to assist in arrests and police investigations.

– Additional information will be provided to the community, once made available.

Thank you to all who could attend the meeting as well as The Engineer’s Club for hosting the event.

SAVE THE DATE: 2017 FALL TOWN HALL MEETING AND AT-LARGE BOARD ELECTION

Join us for the 2017 Midtown Baltimore Fall Town Hall Meeting to get an update on the organization and to elect 4 new at-large Board Members!

WHEN: Wednesday, October 4th
7:00 p.m. Reception
7:30 p.m. Elections and Program

WHERE: Motor House
120 W. North Ave
Baltimore, MD  21201

Please note: Animals, other than service dogs, are not welcome.

Become A Board Member!

You are eligible to represent your community as an at-large member of the Board of Directors if you meet one of the following qualifications:

1) Reside in Bolton Hill, Mount Vernon/Belvedere, Charles North, or Madison Park;
2) Own property subject to the special surtax in one of those communities; or
3) You are authorized to serve as a representative of a property owner subject to the surtax.

If you are interested in serving as an at-large Board Member, forward a letter of interest and your resume to michellew@midtowncommunity.org or mail it to 1120 N Charles Street, Suite 220, Baltimore, MD 21201. All nominations must be received by the 5:00 p.m. on September 28th.

Vote For Board Members!

The 4 at-large members will be elected by all of the eligible voters in attendance at the meeting. To be eligible to vote you must:

1) Reside in Bolton Hill, Mount Vernon/Belvedere, Charles North, or Madison Park;
2) Own property subject to the special surtax in one of those communities; or
3) Prove that you are authorized to serve as a representative of a property owner subject to the surtax.

Now Hiring: FT Truck Driver/Litter-Vac Operator

littervac

Midtown Community Benefits District (MCBD) is currently seeking a full-time Truck Driver/Litter-Vac Operator to join its Clean Team. The position will perform heavy manual work and operate equipment and vehicles in the collection, disposal of refuse and clean the streets and right-of-ways in the District.

Review the full job description below:

The position requires at least one year previous experience operating mechanical equipment in a safe manner. Any combination of experience, certification and training will be accepted in determining qualifications. In addition to the requirements:

  • The selected candidate must possess a Maryland driver’s license and have a clean driving record.
  • Must successfully pass drug screening and a background check.
  • Must be physically fit to lift and/or move up to 50 pounds.
  • The position requires employee to constantly use upper body to operate all components of the machine.
  • Must be a resident of Baltimore City or relocate to Baltimore City within the 90-day probationary period.

To Apply: Please send your resume to jobs@midtowncommunity.org to be considered.

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Save the Date: 2016 Fall Town Hall Meeting and At-Large Board Election

2016-fall-town-hall-postcard_page_1

Join us for the 2016 Midtown Baltimore Fall Town Hall Meeting to get an update on the organization and to elect 4 new at-large Board Members!

WHEN: Wednesday, October 5th
7:00 p.m. Reception
7:30 p.m. Elections and Program

WHERE: Brown Memorial Park Avenue Presbyterian Church
1316 Park Avenue
Baltimore, MD  21217

Please note: Animals, other than service dogs, are not welcome.

Become A Board Member!

You are eligible to represent your community as an at-large member of the Board of Directors if you meet one of the following qualifications:

1) Reside in Bolton Hill, Mount Vernon/Belvedere, Charles North, or Madison Park;
2) Own property subject to the special surtax in one of those communities; or
3) You are authorized to serve as a representative of a property owner subject to the surtax.

If you are interested in serving as an at-large Board Member, forward a letter of interest and your resume to michellew@midtowncommunity.org or mail it to 1120 N Charles Street, Suite 220, Baltimore, MD 21201. All nominations must be received by the 5:00 p.m. on September 28th.

Vote For Board Members!

The 4 at-large members will be elected by all of the eligible voters in attendance at the meeting. To be eligible to vote you must:

1) Reside in Bolton Hill, Mount Vernon/Belvedere, Charles North, or Madison Park;
2) Own property subject to the special surtax in one of those communities; or
3) Prove that you are authorized to serve as a representative of a property owner subject to the surtax.

Now Hiring: FT Truck Driver/Litter-Vac Operator & PT Litter-Vac Operator

littervac

The Midtown Community Benefits District (MCBD) is currently seeking a full-time Truck Driver/Litter-Vac Operator and a part-time Litter-Vac Operator to join its Clean Team. These positions will perform heavy manual work and operate equipment and vehicles in the collection, disposal of refuse and clean the streets and right-of-ways in the District.

Review the full job descriptions below:

To Apply: Please send your resume to jobs@midtowncommunity.org to be considered.