GEDCO's Stadium Place Project Moves to Next Stage

by Alice Cherbonnier

Site of Memorial Stadium after excavation
GOLF COURSE? Nope! What you see across the street is the site of the former Memorial Stadium. Not only has the stadium been demolished, but the parking lot has been removed and grass is now growing where the asphalt once was. Soon the scene will be changing again, as construction begins on Stadium Place, a multi-level-care senior citizens' residence that's a project of the Govans Ecumenical Development Corporation (GEDCO).
On June 24, a Faith Appreciation Breakfast was held to celebrate the progress of Stadium Place, an ambitious housing complex for senior citizens. Present at the event were representatives of the many institutions, mostly churches, that have backed the project.

Over coffee and refreshments in the refurbished cafeteria of the former Eastern High School across the street from the now-cleared land where Memorial Stadium once stood, Rev. Jack Sharp, pastor of Govans Presbyterian Church and president of GEDCO and Stadium Place, detailed the project's progress and thanked supporters.

The guest of honor was former Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke, who good-naturedly outlined the long and complex community planning process for the Memorial Stadium site. The project could have been derailed at many points, he noted, but, thanks to persistence and timing— and having a good plan— the GEDCO plan prevailed.

Among the guests at the event was Ann Williams, former Eastern High principal, who expressed satisfaction that the school building--saved by the wrecking ball and now refurbished as "Johns Hopkins at Eastern"--has retained much of its original character, right down to its walls of glazed yellow brick.

When completed, the $47 million Stadium Place project will include three housing options for approximately 500 residents: apartments for independent living, market-rate houses, and assisted living quarters. The development is unique in the US because, though the housing will be for low- to moderate-income seniors, it will actually be a multigenerational facility because it will be linked to both an adjacent YMCA branch and a community-designed playground. Stadium Place residents will have opportunities to volunteer as tutors, coaches and mentors to young people in the surrounding neighborhoods of Waverly and Ednor Gardens.

Also on the 30-acre site will be an interfaith worship center called Thanksgiving Place, to be used for programs to enrich the spiritual lives of residents and neighbors.

Though GEDCO has created the overall plan for Stadium Place and serves as its developer, it has leveraged its position by subdividing the project so that individual developers will own portions of the land and arrange their own financing for the segment they will build. GEDCO's partners, in addition to the YMCA, are The Humphrey Companies, which will develop and manage the market-rate 180-unit Ednor Apartments; Presbyterian Homes, Inc., which has been instrumental in planning the overall project and is co-sponsoring the Venable Apartments; NCB Development Corp., whose portion will be the Windemere Assisted Living Facilities; and Savannah Development, which, with Humprey, will develop The Villas— 30 individually deeded housing units. Union Memorial Hospital will be providing on-site halth care services for Stadium Place residents.

In order to remove the necessity of entrance fees and keep monthly rents at a reasonable level, GEDCO is raising funds through its "Building New Dreams" campaign to reduce Stadium Place's development and financing costs and to create an endowment to assist needy residents.

For more information, call 410-433-2442.

Stadium Place funders to date include Adrian Dominican Sisters, Catholic Health Initiative, Deer Creek Harmony Presbyterian Church, Delaware/ Maryland Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, Episcopal Church of the Redeemer, Emmanuel Episcopal Church, Govans Presbyterian Church, Holy Boldness Regional Center of the Baltimore-Washington Conference, United Methodist Church, Homewood Friends Meeting, Marianist Sharing Fund, Maryland Society of Jesus (Jesuits), Presbytery of Baltimore, Roland Park Presbyterian Church, School Sisters of Notre Dame, Second Presbyterian Church, Sisters of Mercy, Stony Run Friends Meeting, Towson Presbyterian Church, and Zion Lutheran Church of Baltimore.

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This story was published on July 3, 2002.