Honoring our History,
Building our Future
"Bringing the community together for a thriving Cherry Hill"
A STRONG, HOLISTIC MODEL
FOR A STRONG, HOLISTIC COMMUNITY
As a prospective member of the Purpose Built Communities network, a nationally renowned organization dedicated to holistic community redevelopment, we partner with members of the community across four pillars of revitalization shown to have the greatest impact on long term community health and well-being (Riverside): Cradle-to-Career Education, Community Wellness, Economic Vitality, and High-Quality Affordable Housing.
Improvement in education quality and access are at the core of the cradle-to-college pipeline education pillar. In Cherry Hill, Baltimore City Public Schools serves as the lead entity for the education work with Dream BIG serving as a supporting role to coordinate the resources necessary to provide the community’s students with the robust, holistic education they deserve. Over the next year the education committee will work toward a strategic development process to build consensus for the Cherry Hill education strategy, understand current conditions (assets and needs),develop execution timeline and phasing, revise current strategic plan and align resources.
Currently, student achievement in Cherry Hill schools lags behind most communities in Baltimore and lags well-behind the State average. In 2019, 2.7% of students demonstrated proficiency in literacy, while 4.7% of students demonstrated mastery in mathematics. High school scores are even less promising, with low attendance and graduation rates and only 60% of students demonstrating basic Algebra proficiency and 63% of basic English proficiency. Therefore, the first phase of work will focus on key areas: early childhood education, academic growth in early literacy and math, student wholeness, family engagement, and COVID recovery.
As a part of its community wellness and economic development strategy, Cherry Hill Strong works to provide a community-specific mix of facilities, programs, and services that honor local history, reflect the priorities of residents, promote healthy lifestyles, create economic opportunity, and increase community safety.
In Cherry Hill, Medstar Harbor Hospital will be a key partner, as the anchor institution and largest provider of medical, psychiatric, and behavioral healthcare in the community. Family Health Center of Baltimore will also serve an essential role, as the community health center in the heart of Cherry Hill. However, we understand that the health of a community is not limited to physical health and healthcare access. We are committed to joining the community in ensuring the full gamut of programs and resources are in place to address critical needs in the social determinants of health for Cherry Hill residents. UMBC’s Choice Program is poised to provide a continuum of programs and services for youth and families, and Elev8 Baltimore continues to develop important community-based programs to benefit Cherry Hill residents. Cherry Hill strong will work in concert with existing organizations, and develop a robust network of Cherry Hill-serving resources to meet the needs of the community.
Key initiatives in this pillar include incubating community-owned businesses in retail space, expanding multi-generational workforce development, and increasing fresh food access for Cherry Hill residents. Steering committee member Eric Jackson leads Black Yield Institute’s effort to establish a food co-op.
A healthy neighborhood is made up of healthy housing. Developing high quality housing options for people throughout all phases of life-- from individuals and students, to families and households with children, and legacy residents-- will be essential to building a thriving Cherry Hill. We will work with developers, government agencies and other stakeholders, led by the community’s vision, to create safe, well maintained housing, where people have access to the services and amenities they deserve.
Healthy, stable housing is good for our children, the future thriving residents of Cherry Hill. High-quality affordable housing will preserve the ability for families to remain in the community, and for children to benefit from the continuity of school and sustained relationships with peers and teachers. These relationships are the bedrock of the strong network of support, in which neighbors help grow each other's perspectives and propel each other towards new opportunities.
The Cherry Hill Development Corporation and Weller Development have been lead entities for the mixed income housing work. With the support of the Purpose Built Communities team and network, Cherry Hill strong will implement a mixed-income housing strategy, as a part of the holistic revitalization of the neighborhood. At the center of this strategy is a commitment to not displacing members of the Cherry Hill community and permanently maintaining affordability for low-income families, while developing housing options that appeal to people of all economic abilities.
High-Quality Affordable Housing
As the primary stakeholders in the community, authentic engagement with the residents of Cherry Hill is essential to the success of the neighborhood’s plan for transformation. In order to bring about the thriving Cherry Hill we all envision, innovative solutions must be both relevant to the problems people care most about and effective at sustainably solving them. With key partners, Cherry Hill Community Coalition and the Cherry Hill Tenants Council, we regularly solicit direction from the community to ensure the services being provided are relevant; create mechanisms for feedback to monitor effectiveness; and provide regular updates on progress towards the goals the community has set. We will work alongside the residents of Cherry Hill to coordinate services, opportunities, resources, and policies that align to meet the needs of the community.