Drug dealers once openly sold heroin in a shopping center in Baltimore’s Cherry Hill neighborhood while police sat in a community relations center and seemed to notice nothing, the Baltimore Sun says. The state health secretary and the state drug abuse administrator once came to check out reports of open drug dealing. The old pool hall where drug dealers congregated is now Bird Sportswear. The old police community relations center is now a hair salon. Formerly vacant storefronts are occupied by the likes of Subway and Dunkin’ Donuts and China Wok, and a laundromat and barbershop and Pratt Library branch.
Catholic Charities bought the center, dubbed it Hilltop Market Center, and started renovating. When a supermarket closed, a group of Loyola College MBA students put in $50,000 in equity, secured $700,000 from several state agencies and a foundation, and opened a market. Police say a Neighborhood Hot Spots effort helped quiet crime.