We became a non-profit because people cared about Dundalk’s future.

Planning Process

In November 2001, Baltimore County’s Office of Community Conservation and Dundalk leaders hosted an Urban Design Assistance Team (UDAT), and 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 was an important process in the community’s work to create a vision for Dundalk’s revitalization guiding government, community leaders, and Dundalk Renaissance. See the topics, below:

 Download the full Dundalk UDAT report (PDF):

Part 1   |   Part 2   |   Part 3

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 43 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 highlights Dundalk’s industrial heritage and creates a clear path from Baltimore City to Dundalk that leads travelers directly to the town’s historic core and Main Street.  Implementation has been challenging but we are hopeful that, with plans and engineering in place, the County will allocate funds in a future capital budget, so negotiations can be completed with the remaining property owner in its path.

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. Baltimore Art and Music Project (formerly Project Millennium Inc.) designed and constructed 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 sometime 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.

Restoring Housing and Creating New Neighborhood Choices

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.

New Housing Developments

Several new developments are underway or recently completed, including the 66-home Heritage Square by Ryan Homes on the site of the former Yorkway Apartments; the waterfront Village of Bear Creek by the Mark Building Company, the water view development Stansbury Shores by CalAtlantic Homes, the waterfront Sheltered Harbor townhomes by Ryan Homes and Admiral’s Landing townhomes by K. Hovnanian Homes.

Homeowner Retention Loans and Incentive Grants

The County and DRC have offered numerous renovation loan and grant programs since the UDAT, and DRC continues to raise new funding to encourage residents to reinvest and stay in Dundalk.

Housing Acquisition and Rehabilitation

Since the UDAT, DRC has become a community development corporation. We have had funding to undertake some direct acquisition and renovation of houses to promote home ownership and attract new home buyers to Dundalk, with modern upgrades to houses within and adjacent to our National Register Historic District.  Now we partner with private investors (Market Boost) to create additional renovated homes for sale.

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 more recent commercial construction 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 accommodate 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 called for implementation of design standards that establish pedestrian-friendly zones within the commercial strips (pictured at the top of this page) and reduce speeding on streets connecting with neighborhoods. The team also recommended that a signature sculpture be installed along the Boulevard.

Greening, Civic Spaces and Recreation

The UDAT offered a series of global recommendations focusing on green ways 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. 

Community Leadership and the Role of Dundalk Renaissance Corporation

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. DRC continues to help shape and be led by broader community input, which we seek out in our various Main Street and Housing Committee meetings, our general meetings, and our annual meeting, held each September.

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.

Background – What is a UDAT?

The Urban Design Assistance Team program was initiated by the American Institute of Architects in the mid-1960s in response to the need for community-based planning.  Design professionals in such fields as architecture, landscape architecture, urban planning, transportation, and economics volunteer their time for an intensive week of forums, tours, and design sessions in the community.

The Urban Design Assistance Team program was initiated by the American Institute of Architects in the mid-1960s in response to the need for community-based planning.  Design professionals in such fields as architecture, landscape architecture, urban planning, transportation, and economics volunteer their time for an intensive week of forums, tours, and design sessions in the community.