On Saturday, a crowd of applauding locals showed their support for the launch of a $2.2 million initiative to remake Maplewood Mall.
Eighth District Councilwoman Cindy Bass joined state Rep. Stephen Kinsey and city Commerce Department chief operating officer Kevin Dow for a press conference announcing the makeover’s funding, which NewsWorks reported a day earlier.
Some attendees wondered why officials didn’t wait until this upcoming Saturday’s “Re-Imagining Maplewood Mall” block party, for which organizers hope to draw a big crowd.
“We want to be inclusive in our conversation about Maplewood Mall,” Bass spokesman Joe Corrigan said, explaining that the City’s announcement was for all involved groups, agencies and individuals, not just those hosting Saturday’s party.
In formally announcing the $2.2 million investment, Bass called the plan a “momentous project.”
“The goal of this redesign,” she said, “is to make Maplewood Mall a destination not only for Germantown residents but the city at large.”
Kinsey, of the 201st Legislative District, took the podium on behalf of state Rep. Rosita Youngblood and other state officials.
“She’s tenacious,” he said of Bass, who noted she has long lobbied for this project. “I want to thank the Councilwoman for her leadership, for her bold vision and her innovative ideas.”
Dow noted that the seven-figure Commerce Department committment “doesn’t happen that often, so we need to celebrate that.”
“We fully anticipate that revitalizing this unique gem in Germantown will serve as a catalyst for future economic development in the neighborhood,” he continued.
The first phase of the project consists of seeking input from locals. Then comes the start of an eight-month design and engineering phase by year’s end. From there, construction is expected to commence at the hidden nook.
“You want to match the funding up with the size of the project, and this I think is a perfect fit,” Bass told NewsWorks after stopping to assure a worried attendee that yes, the plans will fix Maplewood’s potholes.
Bass noted that her office is also interested in improved facades and security systems for existing businesses.
“I think we made a very credible case,” said Bass, that the project would “spur additional economic development. … This is really going to be a game changer for the whole neighborhood.”