Dundalk's UDAT Plan
In November, 2001, Dundalk hosted an Urban Design Assistance Team (UDAT).
The process engaged over 150 residents, business owners, and other stakeholders in re-imagining Dundalk's future. While conditions and opportunities are always evolving, the UDAT continues to provide a vision for Dundalk's revitalization guiding government, community leaders, and the DRC.
Download the full Dundalk UDAT report:
UDAT Report, Part 1 (PDF) | Part 2 (PDF) | Part 3 (PDF)
Major Elements of the Dundalk UDAT Plan:
Enhancing Connections to Baltimore City and the Region
Helping visitors and prospective residents find their way in and out of Dundalk's series of peninsulas, making these corridors more attractive and inviting, and calling attention to our miles of waterfront is important to re-making Dundalk's image and helping more people discover its many strengths. Some of the design ideas proposed were:
The Heritage Trail - This proposed new road connection between Dundalk Avenue and Broening Highway incorporates drama and highlights Dundalk's industrial heritage through the creation of a linear park and museum with a sculptural ship design that emerges from the ground alongside the road. This road creates a clear path from Baltimore City to Dundalk that leads travellers directly to the town's historic core and Main Street. While implementation of the Heritage Trail has been slow, the County and the community have been persistent, with funds allocated, plans and engineering in place, and negotiations underway with the remaining property owner in its path. Click HERE to view more on the Heritage Trail's design.
The Dundalk Streetscape and Sculptural Entrance Sign - The beautification of this major gateway into Dundalk, including the installation of a sculptural, three-dimensional sign, was completed in 2007 and 2008. DRC facilitated a Streetscape Committee which provided input to the County on the designs for the improvements, which included new paving and brickwork, pedestrian-scaled street lamps, benches and trash receptacles, and a new thru-connection for Center Place crossing Dundalk Avenue into the Dundalk village Shopping Center. DRC and Baltimore County engaged the Baltimore Art and Music Project (formerly Project Millenium, Inc.) to design and construct the magnificent steel gateway sign.
Scenic Harbor Drive - This proposal involves a re-conceptualization of the roadways that run along the waterfront from the Canton area of Baltimore City, through industrial zones, and into Dundalk via Broening Highway. While there are challenges to its implementation given the sometimes competing needs of Port-related traffic and commuter traffic, it is a simple but big idea for emphasizing the waterfront and its varied uses that DRC continues to work on with various stakeholders. Baltimore City is planning for the resurfacing of Broening Highway, one piece of the puzzle, with the construction of the Heritage Trail another. Top
Restoring Housing and Creating New Neighborhood Choices
Dundalk has a lot of wonderful historic homes, but the UDAT plan identified a need to develop new, larger homes to attract more middle-income families, and to reinvest in existing homes to offer new features and retain current residents. Two new waterfront housing developments proposed in the UDAT plan have thus far proved unworkable, but other new housing developments and initiatives have emerged.
New Housing Developments - Three new waterfront developments have been proposed in the last several years, Villages at Sheltered Harbor, the Lakes at Stansbury Shores, and on the Bauer's Farm property. While recent market conditions have lead the Bauer's Farm proposal to be dropped, the other two projects are still in the moving forward. Additionally, the Yorkway Redevelopment, where apartments once stood, will create 66 single-family homes adjacent to Dundalk's National Register Historic District.
Homeowner Retention Loans and Incentive Grants - following the UDAT, Baltimore County offered $250,000 in homeowner retention loans to encourage residents to reinvest and stay in Dundalk. Over time, the loans will be forgiven if the homeowners stay in Dundalk. The DRC also offers Homeowner Incentive Grants in a targeted area within and adjacent to our National Register Historic Distirct. So far, we have given out over $200,000 in matching grants, which have leveraged an additional $700,000 investment buy homeowners. This program requires that funds be used on exterior improvements, so that adjacent homeowners benefit from a boost in home values. Check out our Renovate page for the latest on current programs available or pending.
Housing Acquisition and Rehabilitation - Since the UDAT, the DRC has become a community development corporation and undertaken direct acquisition and renovation of houses to promote homeownership and attract new homebuyers to Dundalk with modern upgrades to houses within and adjacent to our National Register Historic District. Check out the Buy page for our latest homes for sale, and the Photo Gallery to view our portfolio of renovations. Top
Revitalizing and Reconfiguring Commercial Centers
Dundalk's commercial corridors set major retail trends when they were built, but they are now struggling to compete with later commercial construction elsewhere on the east side of the County.
Dundalk Village Shopping Center - The UDAT called for the center to be reorganized "to serve as a Dundalk-oriented destination and gathering place" by focusing on: Adding Dundalk-oriented tenants responsive to today’s consumer behavior; Creating a gathering area near eating places and professional offices; Capitalizing on the availability of fiber optic network capabilities still on site; Reversing supermarket access toward the parking lots to the rear of the center; Installing a lighted pylon or a sign over Dundalk Avenue to mark the center. It recommended expanding grocery store space from 15,000 to 25,000 square feet to accomodate more desirable products, and possibly reducing small retail space and increasing office space and professional services to create a more economically viable mix of tenants. The UDAT also recommended converting Section 8 rental assistance apartments into small offices or market rent housing to better support the first-floor retail, which was implemented over the last several years with substantial County support once a new owner of the Shopping Center, JMJ Properties, took over from the Dunleer company.
Merritt Boulevard Commercial Corridor
UDAT recommendations call for implementation of design standards that establish pedestrian-friendly zones within the commercial strips (pictured at the top of this page). Monolithic facades should be avoided. Large sweeping intersections that now invite cars to speed through residential neighborhoods must be reconfigured to protect residential communities. The team also recommends that a signature sculpture be installed along the Boulevard. Top
Greening, Civic Spaces, and Recreation
The UDAT offered a series of global recommendations focusing on greenways and public spaces, including depictions on the master plan that connect Dundalk’s diverse residential, commercial, institutional and recreational zones. The plan’s goal is to facilitate greater citizen access and sustainable use of Dundalk’s waterfront, shoreline communities and public open space. Top
Community Leadership and the Role of the DRC
The UDAT also addressed the need for community leadership to drive revitalization forward in a way that remained responsive to citizens' concerns. DRC was designated as the organization to monitor and pursue implementation of the UDAT, and develop new initiatives consistent with the UDAT vision.
In addition to pursuing implementation of many of the large-scale public projects outlined in the UDAT, Two of the UDAT's recommendations, the DRC has evolved and turned its attention to becoming directly involved in development activities. We obtained a Main Street designation from the State in 2004, and became a Certified Community Housing Development Organization in 2005. Both of these designations involved numerous community meetings and discussions about the need for commercial revitalization and housing restoration. They were also both recommended during the UDAT.
DRC continues to help shape and be lead by broader community input, which we seek out in our various Main Street and Housing Committee meetings, our quarterly general meetings, and our Annual meeting, held each September. Top
Preparing for Dundalk's UDAT Process
The groundwork for a successful UDAT was laid in 1997. At that time, Baltimore County government began working with a group of over 70 community leaders to craft a Community Conservation Plan. That plan, adopted by the Baltimore County Council in 2000, called for a visioning process. Peter Batchelor, FAIA, FAICP, was contacted by Baltimore County and Dundalk community leaders in January of 2001, visited the community, and recruited an 11-member team including co-chairman Kent Muirhead, AIA.