Eleanor Matthews, Hana Morford, Joanne Kent, Jennifer Jarvis, Quianna Cook and Betsy Heeney have planned a town hall meeting for Nov. 17 to discuss access to the Roland Water Tower and proposals to block neighborhood residents from driving around the landmark. (Photo by hhaction on Instagram)

By Catherine Pugh,
Special to the AFRO

On the evening of Nov. 6, a group of diverse women gathered around the dining room table of Quianna Cooke. Present that night in the Hoes Heights neighborhood were Betsy Heeney, Hana Morford, Jennifer Jarvis, Joanne Kent and Eleanor Matthews. 

They were not angry women. They seemed frustrated–more than anything–that their voices seem to have fallen on death ears.  

A concrete barrier was erected recently and now blocks the access road to their historical community, something they have held dear for more than 100 years. 

Now there is a town hall meeting planned for Nov. 17,  at the Roland Park Presbyterian Church at 4801 Roland Avenue, at 7 p.m.  

The town hall organizers say city council member Odette Ramos is not listening to them. They have also accused her of taking the side of the other residents– other residents who they refer to as members of the Roland Park Community Foundation.

In an October meeting, Councilwoman Ramos said that plans to move ahead with closing the access road to Hoes Heights had been put on hold.  She claimed that she and council member James Torrence, who represents the Hoes Heights community, are going to go door-to-door to hear what the community wants. 

So why is that concrete barrier without notice to Hoes Heights sitting at the foot of the community blocking their access?

Many elected officials that represent the residents of Hoes Heights have met with community leaders and promised to help.  

Eleanor Matthews, Hana Morford, Joanne Kent, Jennifer Jarvis, Quianna Cook and Betsy Heeney have planned a town hall meeting for Nov. 17 to discuss access to the Roland Water Tower and proposals to block neighborhood residents from driving around the landmark. (Photo by hhaction on Instagram)

Most recently State Sen. Jill Carter (41-MD-D) and Delegate Tony Bridges, (41-MD-D) who they believe understand their problem, have heard their concerns and will be at the town hall meeting on Nov. 17.

“This is our home too,” explained Matthews. “Our families have lived here in Hoes Heights for over a 100 years and now they–meaning some members of the Roland Park Community–have decided to block our entrance and exit to the community in favor of building a small park with no regard to the historical relevance of this community.” 

Hoes Heights is a historic neighborhood in North Baltimore.  It is situated off West Cold Spring Lane.  You can easily miss it if you don’t make that right turn into Evans Chapel Road.  Hoes Heights is names for its founder Grandison Hoe a freed slave in Antebellum Baltimore who brought the land and divided it among his children. Two of his direct descendants still live there, Matthew and Kent.

[It] is not an option to acknowledge our historical presence in this community, it is an insult,” said Kent.

Heeney said the lines of communication have not been open to Hoes Heights residents. 

“We were all in favor of refurbishing the water tower and we’re happy that it is done,” said Heeney. “There were never plans openly discussed with the residents of Hoes Heights that mentioned closing the over 100 year access road to the historical community.”

On Nov. 6, a three-woman crew from Hoe’s Heights drove to City Hall and hand delivered letters to Mayor Brandon Scott, Council President Nick Mosby, City Council Vice President Sharon Greene and Councilmembers James Torrence and Ramos. 

For more information on Hoes Heights go to: www.hhaction.org

Help us Continue to tell OUR Story and join the AFRO family as a member –subscribers are now members!  Join here!