City officials said the easement is needed to widen of area’s “H-alley,” which has been a magnet for crime in the area. All other easements needed for the project have been acquired, officials said.
“The H-alley, as this is called, has been rather notorious for many, many years as an area that has had more than its share of crime,” said City Manager Jim Starbird.
Phil Lanzafame, director of the Economic Development and Housing Department, said while the resolution would start the eminent domain process, city officials would continue to negotiate with the property owner.
On Tuesday, property owner Kathleen Rosenberry said she and her family were against the development project, but would be open to further negotiations.
To use eminent domain, city officials must show that the proposed project is necessary and in the public interest, and that the proposed property acquisition is required to move forward, among other requirements.
The alley widening and additional lighting are a major part of the rehabilitation, which is aimed at revitalizing the densely populated neighborhood in response to residential concerns about crime, lack of open space, parking, lighting and other substandard conditions.
“The police cars will now be able to patrol those alleys, the H-alley, coming in and out at will,” said Mayor Frank Quintero. “It’s going to be a much safer location.”
The general project area is bounded by Glendale Avenue, Brand Boulevard, Chevy Chase Drive and Maple Street. Proposed infrastructure improvements include street and sidewalk rehabilitation and the planting of 46 trees, according to a city report. The project is funded through federal and city Capital Improvement Project funds.
The project also includes the construction of a 30-unit affordable housing development, Garfield Gardens and Maryland Mini Park.
“I think it’s going to be a tremendous addition to the neighborhood on two counts, first for beautification and second for safety,” Quintero said.