The Curran Memorial Clock Tower
The Curran Memorial had been dedicated as a Memorial to J. Joseph Curran, and is located on City owned property at the corner of York Road and Woodbourne Avenue in Govanstowne. Constructed in the 70's, the carillon tower had been struck by lightning twice, and the clocks had not worked for decades.
In the Fall of 2002, Councilman Robert Curran and Reverend Jack Sharp, then of Govans Presbyterian Church, met with the neighboring community to tell them of GEDCO plans to repair the carillon in the Curran Memorial and move it to the entranceway at Stadium Place.
Wishing to maintain something positive in the Govanstowne community, as well as keep a structure that would be a suitable memorial to Mr. Curran, Sr., a committee was formed in 2003, including residential and business community members, Stadium Place project representatives from GEDCO, Rev. Jack Sharp and the Curran family, to discuss a suitable replacement/redesign for the York/Woodbourne location.
The Curran Memorial Committee investigated many options, and finally proposed a clock tower, which received very positive feedback from the community and the Curran family. Working closely with Homeland resident Joe Curran, Jr. as the Curran family contact, the committee coordinated both Curran Memorials; the York/Woodbourne Curran Memorial project, led by the Govanstowne Business Association (GBA, www.govanstowne.org), and the Stadium Place Curran Memorial project, led by Govans Ecumenical Development Corp. (GEDCO, www.gedco.org).
Baltimore City has been an invaluable partner in this community revitalization project. The Dept. of Transportation (DOT) removed existing power lines prior to removal of the bells, demolished the existing tower and coordinated the temporary electric power required for the clocks and chimes. DOT and the Dept. of Recreation and Parks replaced the plantings.
Memorial plaques are included for J. Joseph Curran, Sr. and also Martin E. "Mike" Curran, in commemoration of their many dedicated years of City Council service. Since the tower has been privately funded, a third plaque lists those donors who made substantial contributions to this exciting project, in appreciation of their commitment to the Curran family and the Govanstowne community.
The Curran Memorial Committee
Rev. Jack Sharp, Co-Chair
Rev. P. Edward Kenny, Co-Chair
Mr. Joseph Curran, Curran Family Representative
Mr. Robert Curran, Curran Family Representative
Laura Penza, Govanstowne Business Association (GBA)
Louise Harris, Mid-Govans Neighborhood Association
Helene Perry, York Road Partnership
York Road Improvements
GBA Streetscape Phase Ib (blocks 5500-5700 York Road, extended up to Northern Parkway) is finally complete, pending illumination of some of the lights.
The GBA has been working toward a City commitment for the final phase south of Woodbourne, which we understand will extend to 33rd Street.
(History: In 1995, GBA applied for a grant to fund the design/engineering phase I, which was awarded in 1996, and the Conceptual Master Streetscape Master Plan and Report was prepared. In 1998, the Conceptual Master Streetscape Master Plan Phase II: Revitalization Plan was prepared and submitted to the City. GBA collaborated with YRP in 2004 to continue the streetscape efforts between the previous areas, and the YRP Master Streetscape Plan was issued.)
Thank you, Grass Roots Landscaping!
Ira Burks, a Mid-Govans neighbor and owner of Grass Roots Landscaping Company, offered to clean out and weed the Tunbridge planter. We appreciate his generosity and professional assistance very much. Please help show your appreciation for this good community deed, by calling Grass Roots Landscaping Company for Fall cleanup of leaves and/or other debris, and also keep them in mind for snow removal. Let Ira and his crew help you with all your landscaping and snow removal needs - just call Ira at 410-241-2619.
Bellona Triangle (above) - GBA received a Baltimore City Capital Grant for beautification of the Bellona Triangle at the corner of York Road and Bellona Avenue. The work was finally completed in September 2005 for the enjoyment of the entire community. The Bellona Triangle property is owned by Precision Tune, whose site to the north has also been improved with landscaping with this grant. Shari Dipasquale of Stone Hill Design designed the landscaping improvements.
Parks & People Grants - GBA has been applying for annual grants to increase the streetscape greening effort along York Road.
Tunbridge planter box - this raised brick planter has been maintained for years by GBA. Improvements are included in almost all streetscape projects and the GBA-CARES youths regularly spend time working here.
Tree pits along York Road. GBA provides annual funding, works toward getting grants for beautification, and volunteers for cleanups, new plantings, and general beautification.
GBA members also help coordinate volunteers on service days such as the Mayor's annual Super Spring Sweep Thing cleanup events.
Holiday Streetscape Decorations
Loyola College Community Outreach Day 2004
You may have noticed the new plantings along York Road! Please take a look at some of the attached photos illustrating the community efforts thus far.
Govanstowne Business Association (GBA) is working to support both the business and residential communities. September 19th was Loyola College Community Outreach Day, and the GBA worked with many enthusiastic, energetic Loyola College students and community members to kick off some Autumn beautification of our business corridor and neighboring communities. We are grateful to have received a Baltimore Parks & People Grant for Streetscape Greening, which allowed us to secure many plants and materials for this valuable effort
Loyola College provided tremendous student volunteers, snacks and transportation on the 19th - the level of student organization is to be commended! Thank you! Community members from Mid-Govans, Woodbourne-McCabe, Homeland and Bellona-Gittings (sorry if we missed some others; please let us know for our records) also joined efforts that day to work together to reach a common goal for our communities. Again, thank you all!
The main areas of improvement, thus far, include preparing the soil and planting perennials in many tree pits from below Coldspring Lane up to Bellona Avenue, including those along Woodbourne Avenue, adding perennials to the planting area along York Road at the Curran Memorial Woodbourne corner, helping to clean out and prepare the Bellona Triangle garden for future planting efforts, and improving the plantings at the Tunbridge planter (across from Subway). Also, Woodbourne-McCabe is preparing a welcoming entrance garden. If you haven't seen it yet, please take a look at the open lot behind Save-A-Lot.
GBA members, including the GBA/CARES youths, are continuing this effort on a weekly basis. Many businesses have expressed their appreciation and have offered to maintain the plantings. Any business or residential community member who wishes to participate in this worthwhile effort on a Saturday morning, please contact Larry Ford, Executive Director of GBA, 443-413-4710.
Adopt-A-Planter Spring/Summer 2005 - once again, we have received a grant from Parks & People to improve the streetscape plantings. We are tackling the ongoing challenge of planting and maintaining streetscape plantings along York Road. If there is a tree pit or planter near your business, we need your help watering and keeping new plantings beautiful! Please adopt a planter and keep it watered. This year, the GBA-CARES youths will work on the plantings and they have created signs for the trees, which we hope will help make pedestrians aware of the plantings in the tree pits. We have started by concentrating on the York-Woodbourne area, and we hope this effort will make a difference in the beauty and pride of Govanstowne. (7, 8, 9, add AFTER photos @ Homeland Center and SAL treepits, and GBA-CARES planting) Thank you to those businesses willing to adopt and care for the planters in this area: Rosen's, Dunkin Donuts, America's Cash Express, Gourmet Pizza, Corner Carryout, and Shepherd Heart Baptist Church. Please call Reba if you have a planter or area near your business that you would like us to make beautiful, especially if your business will help with watering efforts!
Curran Memorial Clock Tower - Planning and Preparation
In the Fall of 2002, Robert Curran and Reverend Jack Sharp, then of Govans Presbyterian Church, met with the neighboring community to tell them of plans to repair the carillon in the Curran Memorial (located at the corner of York and Woodbourne) and move it to the entranceway at Stadium Place. In 2003, a committee was formed that included residential and business community members, Stadium Place project representatives from GEDCO, Rev. Jack Sharp and the Curran family (particularly Joe Curran), to discuss a suitable replacement/redesign for the York/Woodbourne location. By that time, GEDCO had proceeded further with the design of Stadium Place and had determined that only the carillon bells on the iron ?bell tower' were needed for the Curran Memorial tower proposed at Stadium Place, which is the focal point of the ThanksGiving Place entrance garden.
Since the Curran Memorial Committee wanted to maintain something ?positive' in the Govanstowne community, as well as keep a structure that would be a suitable memorial to Mr. Curran, Sr., we proposed a clock tower that utilized most of the existing structure. This concept has received very positive feedback from the community and the Curran family. Attached is a rendering of the proposed design for your review. Currently, our committee is coordinating both Curran Memorials; the York/Woodbourne Curran Memorial project is led by the Govanstowne Business Association (GBA, www.govanstowne.org), and the Stadium Place Curran Memorial project is led by Govans Ecumenical Development Corp. (GEDCO, www.gedco.org).
We have been working with a local representative of The Verdin Company, a nationally recognized carillon fabricator, to prepare construction drawings for the proposed clock tower at York/Woodbourne. The City has been very helpful, offering to remove existing power lines prior to removal of the bells, provide electric power, expedite permit issues, and also replace some plantings that were removed. Memorial plaques will be included for J. Joseph Curran, Sr. and Martin E. "Mike" Curran. The existing ironwork will be removed by a local salvage company.
Curran Bell Tower Fund (Updated 3/07):
$96,017.00 Total Budget Estimate
$73,737.87 +/- Collected and/or Pledged
$22,279.13 +/- Still needed
With donations now reaching more than 75% of the budget, the Committee may soon be signing the Verdin contract to start fabrication. For those wishing to see the clocks work again, please consider a contribution to help expedite this exciting project; any amount will be greatly appreciated, and we would be honored to publicize all donors. Contribution checks for the York / Woodbourne Bell Tower should be made out to the Baltimore City Foundation, noted with ?Curran Bell Tower Fund'. They can be mailed to Debbie Gigogne at the MECU Building, 6th Floor, 401 East Fayette Street, Baltimore MD 21202. She handles the account for the Baltimore City Foundation (BCF) and her number is 410-396-5904.
Send your donation today! We hope to have a working clock by the Fall of 2007!
Smart Growth - In 2003, brick piers, metal fencing and new plantings were installed, complimenting the GBA streetscape work, and further improving the MTA bus stop area at York and Woodbourne. A committee, including GBA business members and YRP neighborhood representatives, submitted a Smart Growth Transit program application proposal to the State of Maryland for improvements. We were awarded a grant, the GBA administered the funds, and work was implemented in the Fall of 2003. GBA assisted in the planting replacements necessary in the Fall of 2004, and GBA continues to maintain the area.