Catholic Charities of Baltimore leads $4.5 million redo of Cherry Hill Town Center

Editor’s note: The following article appeared on on March 29, 2019.

Catholic Charities of Baltimore is looking to complete a $4.5 million renovation of its Cherry Hill Town Center to bring business and entrepreneurship opportunities, community gathering spaces and fresh food options to the South Baltimore community.

The nonprofit is seeking funding from the state of Maryland in the form of a $500,000 bond request. A preliminary report of the state’s capital budget shows the project will likely get $250,000, or half of its request, however the budget will not become final until it is signed by Governor Larry Hogan.

Bill McCarthy, executive director of Catholic Charities, said the journey to update the complex began nearly two years ago through conversations with community members about what they like about the center, what’s missing and what might the nonprofit might be able to create there.

That led to the idea of creating a 5,000-square-foot community market.

McCarthy said the vision is to create a marketplace with pop-up stalls where local entrepreneurs could set up shop, as well as a community kitchen where partner organizations could teach cooking classes, run a culinary arts training program or even have a temporary restaurant. The idea would be to provide regular access to fresh and healthy foods and “give people participating in the program retail and restaurant experience,” McCarthy said.

Plans also include creating a cafe at the front of the market and the space will be able to be used for community events and meetings.

The existing food court will be updated as well, and additionally acts as the entrance to the Enoch Pratt Free Library Cherry Hill Branch. The town center’s storefronts, lighting, signage and parking will also be updated.

The project will cost $4.5 million, McCarthy said, with the market taking up the bulk of the expense at around $2.2 million. He added that while it is described as a three-phase plan, the work will take place all at once. McCarthy hopes to get construction underway by 2020 with completion slated for one year later.

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