Washington Post April 16, 1900 Page 9 Suspensions of Indignation - One House Blazes Up While Frist is Burning About 1:00 in the morning a nice unoccupied cottage in Lakeland was discovered to be on fire. While attempts were being made to save part of the building it another home about 300 yards away was discovered to be burning as well. It is believed that the fires were intentional. The residences had been vacant for weeks. Colored people were angry that they were unable to rent the homes as only whites tenants were welcome. The cottages had been built by Mr. E. A. Newman and were owned by a trust company located in Philadelphia. Both home valued at a total of $2,000 were insured against loss. A careful investigation of the fire will be made.
Article from Greenbelt Cooperator
The Baltimore Sun February 27, 1945 Page 15 Lakelanders represented by Washington Attorney, Charles Houston to oppose inclusion in incorporation as part of municipality. Said tax burden would be difficult for residents due to their low income.
The Diamondback October 19, 1971 Page 4 Dean Tuthill Responding to letter in the October 7 edition on channelization of Paint Branch and Indian Creek form the Environmental Conservation Organization. I am in support of channelization as it would benefit the residents of Lakeland. I have witnessed people rescued from their homes in boats and spoken to residents afraid when it rains. Those living on Lakeland Road have been subject to flooding for years and commitments have been made of help from the Corps of Engineers project. It is true no one should live in a know flood area but Black people live there because they had no other option. Much of the land is owned by whites living elsewhere. Purchasing the land using eminent domain is the only way to put land in the hands of community members. Once that is done young residents will have a chance to purchase land and build homes in Lakeland. If not this plan would the Environmental Conservation Organization ensure the avaliblity of low income homes for Black people in Collège Park Woods, College Park Estates, Berwyn or Berwyn Heights? For now Lakeland residents hope to improve their community.
Black Explosion January 24, 1974 Page 5 University of Maryland employee relations officer and black faculty and staff association member, Charles Carroll was elected to College Park's city council. He is the sole Black voting member of that body. Mr. Carroll is in favor of urban renewal but said it must be a benefit to the community. He is concerned about elderly members of the community having to move out and being faced with hardship cased by higher rents. He would like to see more Blacks gaining administrative work with the city. To date the only Black employees are refuse collectors. Other concerns expressed were traffic noise and the concept of lowering the age for holding of municpal elected office from 25 to 21. To be an elected city official an individual must also be a resident for at least 90 days and own property.
The Diamondback September 15, 1976 Many pieces of Lakeland land were purchased by the Urban Renewal project. The University then discusses the use of Lakeland land for the expansion of their community housing through the Urban Renewal project. This idea is presented by the city community development director, Mr. Edwin Finder. In the meantime, some Lakelanders must rent homes from the city because of the Urban Renewal project’s purchase of their homes. Mr. Finder says that they are to be given first priority in the construction of new housing. At the same time, the Urban Renewal plan exceeded its budget of $5.2 million by another $5 million. The city requested $1.8 million in urgent need funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and was approved to receive it to complete the project. The request was sent to the HUD’s office earlier in the summer of 1976. Getting more federal money to complete the project was imperative and was a way to help fix the damage already afflicted on the neighborhood by natural incidents. Mrs. Hollomand part of the Lakeland resident's group stated opposition to the University's involvement in the project. She said the residents had need for new housing.
The Sentinel Prince George's Drawing above article show a well dressed. Black family, man woman and young boy on a building site with home debris and a hole. Behind them is a bulldozer with a seated operator and smoke coming from it's stack. To one side is a high rise building and a sign reading "Lakeland Urban Renewal Area, High-Rise Living for University Faculty and Senior Citizens". The boy is tugging at the man' sleeve. The headline reads "Is this where you used to live, daddy?" During a meeting in 1973 College Park officials announced HUD funding of the Lakeland Urban Renewal project. That evening was a celebration which included residents of the neglected all Black community. Lakeland residents, many of whom had been relocated from their homes which had been torn down were displeased with the proposal. They saw nothing for them. Another meeting two weeks ago was not a happy event. At that developer, Leon Weiner shared his plan for the community. The information was greeted with protests from residents. Rather than a development of single family homes favored by the community Weiner's plan features six single family homes, a high rise for University of Maryland faculty members and another for senior citizens along with some townhomes and finally some low income housing units. One whole area of the community would remain vacant. Residents noted that the plan was set without input from them. They even questioned the selection of Weiner for the project. Early in the project it was clear urban renewal was too big an endeavor for a small city. By that point it was too late to halt the project. Costs snowballed. The original price tag was $1.3 million that grew to $2.9 million and now rests at 10 million. Things went down hill for the community too. In 1968 the city's urban renewal director assured the them of "retaining the community's sprit and identity" "This is a project of urban renewal, not Negro removal." In 1970 the city administrator assured a reporter "No one (in Lakeland) will be displaced." The current urban renewal director reported 67 families had already been moved out and 44 more will be leaving. There is a history of broken promises. Lakeland was not a slum. There were some substandard homes, and poor and unpaved roads. The fault of the city. Lakeland was a vital community with a history. It would be forever torn apart by Weiner's plan. If that night of promise in 1973 was the city's finest hour the finalization of the Weiner's plan in two weeks will be College Park's worst.
Black Explosion September 11, 1977 Page 8 Michele Chandler According to Leonard Smith, chairman of the project area committee (PAC their efforts to change development plans for the Lakeland community are useless. The project was built in 1974 for the low income residents. It was intended to replace poor housing in the neighborhood. Do to years of delays and cost increase developers were invited to give the city lower cost options. At a public hearing in August developer, Leon Weiner presented his plan which included two 150 unit apartment buildings one for senior citizens and another for University faculty, staff and perhaps students. 26 townhomes, 40 apartments for low to moderate income households and 6 single family homes. The mayor asked that city staff and the citizens group look at other options for the project. Weiner met with PAC two weeks after the hearing and said he would consider the input. Mr. Smith called the work "wasted effort" and said "with seven white council members and only one black, we have no bargaining power." Residents are firmly against the building of the apartment for members of the University community. They want single family homes. The group agreed to the building of the senior citizens units if they were set away from Baltimore Avenue to promote the safety of its residents. They also asked that the building be reduced in size such that it would only accommodate members of the College Park community. The citizens also asked that the number of public housing units be 24 not 26 and that they be spread throughout the community rather than placed in one area. Another request was that Lakeland Road, Navahoe Street and Berwyn House Roads not be closed. Mr. Smith also decried the lack of provision for neighborhood commercial space to allow the continuation of small stores. PAC member Mary Braxton polled former residents and most reported they left the community due to "inadequate housing".
Black Explosion January 26 1977 Page 3 Anthony A. Harris On January 17 Lakeland’s Project Area Committee met. They discussed options related to their opposition to the plan presented by developer Leon Weiner. They presented four concepts s to the city council. 1. To convene the developer to consider the wishes of the community. 2. Have individuals send any complaints they have directly to HUD. 3. To draw up a specific list of the elements they would like rot add to the plan. 4. To dissolve PAC as it has no use. Community members oppose the plan proposed by Weiner as it contains few single family homes. Instead it has mid and high-raise apartment buildings. Rather than recommending Weiner for the work. PAC members endorsed a community based development group, Lakeland Joint Venture who would have returned 10 to 15 percent of their profits to the community to build a community center. A photo by Alex Thompson showing the urban renewal office trailer is also on the page.
The Diamondback April 21, 1978 Page 1 by Mark Haas Crisis in Lakeland There was upset when Leon Weiner, a Wilmington developer was chosen to complete work on the Lakeland urban renewal project. Community members preferred a local builder. HIs plan would provide tow high rise buildings and only six single family homes. Community leaders felt there was collusion involved in the developer's selection. In answer Weiner threatened a slander suit. Residents were most displeased with the inclusion of two high rise buildings. This comes on the heals of a meeting between the city and University discussing the Lakeland plans. In 1974 the University offered a joint student development project in Lakeland. That proposal was publicly turned down. At that time the urban renewal plan called for apartment buildings on the east side of the railroad in Lakeland. City officials said community members would be able to relocate in the central conservation area and 30 building lots would be available there this year. Project Area Committee (PAC) spokesman Leonard Smith and other residents made known their desire to return to the original development plan with more single family homes. Smith said "Why should the community be forced to bear the weight of the money problems when we did nothing to cause it? Why should we be hurt by it?
The Diamondback April 21, 1978 Page 1 Portion of article by Mark Hass Rose Adams lived in Lakeland for more than 50 years. Her son was born in a house built by his grandfather on built on Navahoe Street. In 1972 that house was demolished by the City of College Park. Mrs. Adams has moved to an apartment in Langley Park a 40 minute ride from her job as a custodian on the University campus. The family's Lakeland house was a "family home." were she had lived with her husband and two brothers. One of them died soon after the house was demolished. Adams said "It broke his heart when they tore the house down'" "He had no home, and that's why he died." Mrs. Adams says she still has friends in Lakeland and goes there for church on Sundays. About the project she says "The city sold Lakeland out" "They told us urban renewal would make Lakeland a better place to live. All I see is knocking things down and making people leave." Mrs. Adams was paid $6,000 for her home. That was not enough to buy one of the $50,000 new homes planned to be built.
Washington Post Leon Wynte February 11, 1982 Page B1 Residents of Lakeland describe the community that once was, homes. and childhood memories. They asked for help to stop flooding, pave roads and improve some of homes. What they received was an ease of flooding as well as sidewalks, and a high rise apartment building for senior citizens. Gone though are 104 of the community's 150 households. Federal bureaucracy and inflation are blamed for this outcome. One former resident is grateful for the program as it helped her move to an accessible modern home. Another said he doesn't visit anymore as "Everything's been pushed out" Lakeland is less than a mile in area and divided by railroad tracks. It was once a white community and some burned their homes when leaving. Dispite little support from others a Black community thrived with its own institutions. There was a high school, tavern, Elk's Hall, American Legion post. At the start of the project residents were optimistic. In 1965 the area was surveyed. Four years later a 36 page urban design plan was created. In 1971 the Federal Department of Housing and Urban Development approved $5 million for the project and $1.2 million was to come from the City of College Park. The original plan called for 90 units of low to moderate income housing mixed with 47 single family homes in the western area along with 300 units of housing in the east. Little of this took came about. Work was held up over environmental concerns causing home purchases to not begin until 1973. Jack Callahan, urban renewal director reported the program cost by 1976 had doubled. The City then asked HUD for more money. Ed Finder joined the City staff and brought new life to the program. He was a former reginal director with New York states' Urban Development Corporation. He used his connections to find interest in the project. Five developers made proposals. Lakeland residents endorsed their top three proposals. Leon Weiner was not among that group. Finder endorsed Weiner, a known developer of government backed projects and the city agreed. He proposed high rise apartment buildings. Finder left the project the next year and is now director of economic development in Paterson NJ, Of the project he is quoted as saying "There are people who may be bitter." The Project Area Committee made up of residents pretested plan changes. Mary Braxton said she has a box full of records from the project and hates to think about what took place. It makes her ill. Vernice Buell of HUD said it was rare for residents to return unless a real effort is made to meet their desires for housing. Harry Braxton, Jr called the bulldozer the 'giant eraser'. No recreation facility was included in the plan and the PAC requested the purchase of the Lakeland High School building to fore fill that use. That request was declined. Mrs. Braxton said "What we have looks good, but we don't have much" "We gave up two-thirds to get one-third."
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