Residents of Hoes Heights fight off road closure, seek continued access to local landmark

by Catherine Pugh,
Especially for the AFRO

On the evening of November 6th, a diverse group of women gathered around Quianna Cooke’s dining table. In attendance that night in the Hoes Heights neighborhood were Betsy Heeney, Hana Morford, Jennifer Jarvis, Joanne Kent and Eleanor Matthews.

They weren’t angry women. They seemed frustrated – more than anything – that their voices seemed to be falling on death ears.

A concrete barrier was recently erected that now blocks the access road to their historic community, something that has been close to their hearts for more than 100 years.

A town hall meeting is now scheduled for November 17 at 7 p.m. at the Roland Park Presbyterian Church at 4801 Roland Avenue

City Hall organizers say City Council member Odette Ramos is not listening to them. They’ve also accused her of siding with the other residents — other residents who they describe as members of the Roland Park Community Foundation.

At an October meeting, Councilwoman Ramos said plans to close the access road to Hoes Heights had been put on hold. She claimed that she and Councilor James Torrence, who represents the Hoes Heights community, will go door-to-door to hear what the community wants.

So why is this concrete barrier blocking their access without notice from Hoes Heights at the base of the community?

Many elected officials representing Hoes Heights residents have met with community leaders and pledged their help.

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

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

“This is our home, too,” Matthews explained. “Our families have lived here in Hoes Heights for over 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 order to build a small park without regard to the historical relevance of this.” community.”

Hoes Heights is a historic neighborhood in North Baltimore. It is on West Cold Spring Lane. It’s easy to miss unless you turn right onto Evans Chapel Road. Hoes Heights is named 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 lines of communication have not been open to Hoes Heights residents.

“We were all in favor of rehabilitating the water tower and we’re glad it’s done,” Heeney said. “There have never been plans, openly discussed with Hoes Heights residents, to close the more than 100-year-old access road to the historic community.”

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

For more information about Hoes Heights, visit:

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