Gatehouse Renovation Campaign

Gatehouse Renovation Campaign

From Jack Lattimore

The Forest Park Action Council (501(c)(3)) is renovating the Civil War era Gatehouse to create a center for COMMUNITY SAFETY, COMMUNITY ADVOCACY, and HISTORIC PRESERVATION.

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Recent Updates

Update #4

11 days ago

The Gatehouse Story #3 – The Forest Park Action Council is formed

Following the closure of the Gatehouse the open-air drug trade moved back in at the corner. In 2012 there was a homicide at the corner and in 2015 there were 2 homicides at the corner.
In 2015 a group of neighbors stepped forward to take back the corner. Led by Peter Auchincloss of Dickeyville, and composed of local community associations, our local public school, churches, apartment complex owners, and small businesses, we organized the Forest Park Action Council (FPAC) and incorporated in 2016. With new eyes on the corner it soon became clear that the drug trade was operating out of the corner gas station. FPAC’s first success was having the station closed by Baltimore City using its nuisance business law.

A new, fully vetted franchisee re-opened the gas station with increased police surveillance and support of the new gas station manager, the open-air drug trade was gone for a while. Unfortunately, it did not last. Slowly the drug trade has crept back into the corner and once again seems to be part of the landscape. Thankfully, there has been no overt violence associated with the new drug dealers. That does not mean, however, that all things are good at the corner. Having young people approach your vehicle and try to sell you drugs as you are pumping gas is a major problem for lawful customers who are just trying to do their business and be on their way. It means the corner has once again become the turf of drug dealers and ne’er do wells. The open-air drug market drags down the community’s reputation and impacts the value of our homes and properties. It poses a threat to families and their children, who must pass the corner every day on their way to school.
We are grateful for City police who regularly patrol the corner and average 3-5 narcotic arrests a week there. The problem is the drug trade is always able to recruit new dealers, vulnerable young men who are looking for a way to make money.

More Info

The Forest Park Action Council (FPAC) has been working hard in west Baltimore to rehabilitate the Civil War era Gatehouse in the center of our community.   It will serve as a resource center for our communities and other nonprofits that have come together through FPAC to address the following needs: 

Safety: The Gatehouse is located at the corner of Windsor Mill Rd. & Forest Park Ave., where a persistent open-air drug market operates outside some of our businesses.  When the Gatehouse was in operation in the early 2000's, thanks to a strong partnership with our community associations, business owners, Kernan Hospital, and the police, the violence and illegal drug trade was shut down!  But mold and deterioration forced the Gatehouse to close in 2011. FPAC has been working since 2019 to get it back in operation.

Community Advocacy: FPAC will have a home to pursue its mission of uniting our neighbors and organizations into a powerful force for good! We will offer services to community residents in partnership with the schools, churches, and businesses here. We will also welcome other nonprofits and agencies to work with us to create a bright future for our community.  

Historic Preservation:  The Gatehouse is at the nexus of 5 nationally designated historic locations.  It will be a place to discover, explore, and promote that history.  

We need your help now!  We've made solid progress on our goals and Phase 1 of the renovation is set to be completed next month.  Phase 2, the final phase of the renovation will cost $182,000. In order to set the stage for Phase 2 and show foundation funders and large grantors that we have strong community support, anything you can donate toward our goal of $10,000 by July 15 will help us so much -- and it's tax-deductible!  Many people have already been supporters and we are truly thankful. If you can help us again, we will be so grateful for your continued support. If you are just discovering this community-changing project, please make a generous gift today!

Thank you! 

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Jack Lattimore posted a new update:
11 days ago

Update #4

The Gatehouse Story #3 – The Forest Park Action Council is formed

Following the closure of the Gatehouse the open-air drug trade moved back in at the corner. In 2012 there was a homicide at the corner and in 2015 there were 2 homicides at the corner.
In 2015 a group of neighbors stepped forward to take back the corner. Led by Peter Auchincloss of Dickeyville, and composed of local community associations, our local public school, churches, apartment complex owners, and small businesses, we organized the Forest Park Action Council (FPAC) and incorporated in 2016. With new eyes on the corner it soon became clear that the drug trade was operating out of the corner gas station. FPAC’s first success was having the station closed by Baltimore City using its nuisance business law.

A new, fully vetted franchisee re-opened the gas station with increased police surveillance and support of the new gas station manager, the open-air drug trade was gone for a while. Unfortunately, it did not last. Slowly the drug trade has crept back into the corner and once again seems to be part of the landscape. Thankfully, there has been no overt violence associated with the new drug dealers. That does not mean, however, that all things are good at the corner. Having young people approach your vehicle and try to sell you drugs as you are pumping gas is a major problem for lawful customers who are just trying to do their business and be on their way. It means the corner has once again become the turf of drug dealers and ne’er do wells. The open-air drug market drags down the community’s reputation and impacts the value of our homes and properties. It poses a threat to families and their children, who must pass the corner every day on their way to school.
We are grateful for City police who regularly patrol the corner and average 3-5 narcotic arrests a week there. The problem is the drug trade is always able to recruit new dealers, vulnerable young men who are looking for a way to make money.

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Jack Lattimore posted a new update:
11 days ago

Update #3

The Gatehouse Story #2 - Transition to Community Safety Center
In 2001, in a tragic act of drug-related gang violence, a local church member was shot and killed by a stray bullet after leaving his church service. The crime remains unsolved.
The Franklintown community quickly joined forces with Kernan Hospital and the Baltimore City Police to respond to the tragedy. Jim Ross, Kernan CEO, stepped up and said, “You want to use the Gatehouse? Here’s the keys!” By 2002 the Gatehouse had been re-named the Kernan Police Substation, staffed by Franklintown’s Citizens on Patrol. The Gatehouse is right across the street from where open-air drug market operates. The building was fitted out with a computer connected to remote cameras that monitored the goings-on at the corner. The city police had unlimited access to the building and would use it to surveil the corner, review video, and write reports. It was a comfortable, prime location to keep an eye on things.

Kernan Police Substation Grand Opening 2002
One morning in 2011, I got a call from the hospital’s Facilities Director that the community needed to vacate the property immediately due to the presence of mold, lead paint, and asbestos. That afternoon, the Kernan Police Substation was closed. There is one takeaway from that joint community, hospital, police effort – during the 9 years the Gatehouse was in operation as the Kernan Police Substation there were no homicides at the corner and the level of illegal activity was significantly reduced.
Following the closure of the Gatehouse the open-air drug trade moved back in at the corner. In 2012 there was a homicide at the corner and in 2015 there were 2 homicides at the corner.
In 2015 a group of neighbors stepped forward to take back the corner. Led by Peter Auchincloss of Dickeyville, and composed of local community associations, our local public school, churches, apartment complex owners, and small businesses, we organized the Forest Park Action Council (FPAC) and incorporated in 2016. With new eyes on the corner it soon became clear that the drug trade was operating out of the corner gas station. FPAC’s first success was having the station closed by Baltimore City using its nuisance business law.

A new, fully vetted franchisee re-opened the gas station with increased police surveillance and support of the new gas station manager, the open-air drug trade was gone for a while. Unfortunately, it did not last. Slowly the drug trade has crept back into the corner and once again seems to be part of the landscape. Thankfully, there has been no overt violence associated with the new drug dealers. That does not mean, however, that all things are good at the corner. Having young people approach your vehicle and try to sell you drugs as you are pumping gas is a major problem for lawful customers who are just trying to do their business and be on their way. It means the corner has once again become the turf of drug dealers and ne’er do wells. The open-air drug market drags down the community’s reputation and impacts the value of our homes and properties. It poses a threat to families and their children, who must pass the corner every day on their way to school.
We are grateful for City police who regularly patrol the corner and average 3-5 narcotic arrests a week there. The problem is the drug trade is always able to recruit new dealers, vulnerable young men who are looking for a way to make money.

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Jack Lattimore posted a new update:
18 days ago

Update #2

The Story of the Gatehouse at Kernan Hospital


Photo of the Gatehouse from the National Register of Historic Places listing (1979)

1. The Beginning
The Gatehouse was built from 1860-67 on the grounds of the Radnor Park Estate on the western edge of Baltimore City. It was purchased in 1910 by James Lawrence Kernan, a theater impresario, who had been asked to provide a piano for the Hospital for Crippled and Deformed Children, then located at 2000 North Charles Street in Baltimore. When Kernan visited the location to donate the piano he is reported to have said “You don’t need a piano…you need a hospital!” Kernan deeded the Radnor Park property to the hospital and in 1911 the mansion had been converted into a working hospital and renamed The James Lawernce Hospital and Industrial School of Maryland for Crippled Children.
The Gatehouse is a small stone building with brick accents, typical of Victorian gatehouses of the time. Like the entire 88-acre Kernan Hospital property, it is on the National Register of Historic Places. It sits adjacent to Windsor Mill Road, on the southeast corner of the campus. It housed hospital employees until the 1990’s.

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Jack Lattimore posted a new update:
28 days ago

Update #1

We've raised over $1000 in just 2 days! A great start! Join us and keep the momentum going.

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