Oakenshawe April Updates

Happy April Oakenshawe Neighbors,

This month’s Oakenshawe Improvement Association (OIA) Newsletter Update includes:

  • Quarterly OIA Meeting: April 17
  • OIA Block Captains
  • Spring Clean Up: April 22
  • Updates on Safety Concerns – Greenmount & Venable
  • Save the Dates
  • Calling All Writers: Oakenshawe Opines
  • Community Updates

Join us for OIA’s Quarterly Meeting on Monday, April 17

The next OIA quarterly meeting is coming up this month on Monday, April 17 at 6:30pm. Join for updates from the President, Treasurer, and Committees including: Membership & Communications, Events, Greenspace & Trees, and Public Safety & University Engagement. Committees will present their budget proposals for 2023 which will be discussed and voted upon.

OIA Quarterly Meeting (April)

Date & Time: Monday, April 17 from 6:30-7:30pm

Location: 3422 University Place (Backyard of Zach Gieske’s house, the OIA President)

Call-in Option: Zoom Link

  • One tap mobile
  • +13017158592,,2068465506#,,,,*774524#
  • +1 301 715 8592
  • Meeting ID: 206 846 5506
  • Passcode: 774524

Note: Check the OIA Website for latest details in case of inclement weather. For those joining by Zoom, we cannot guarantee audio quality but will try our best

OIA Block Captains

OIA has been working to set up a Block Captain system to better communicate with neighbors, especially those who may not be on this newsletter. So far, we’ve identified 11 of 18 block captains!

Thank you to the amazing volunteers listed below. At some point before April 17, your block captain will be reaching out to all your neighbors with a flier about the OIA and to introduce themselves as your liaison between the block and OIA.

Block Captains plan to greet & welcome new neighbors, drop off flyers ahead of quarterly OIA meetings, seek volunteers for events, and gather contact information to keep OIA’s neighbor database up-to-date.

Check out whether your block has a captain. If your block does not yet have a captain, consider volunteering or reach out to share this opportunity with a friendly neighbor who you think may be interested.

*Ed and Karen Stokes have agreed to help, temporarily, until we can find a permanent block captain.

Qualifications for Block Captain:

“If you want this choice position

Have a cheery disposition

Rosy cheeks, no warts!

Play games, all sorts

You must be kind, you must be witty

Very sweet and fairly pretty

Take us on outings, give us treats

Sing songs, bring sweets

Never be cross or cruel

Never give us castor oil or gruel

Love us as a son and daughter

And never smell of barley water”

-The Perfect Nanny, Mary Poppins

Just kidding. But we ask all neighbors to please be kind to your Block Captain and vice versa.

Spring Clean Up: April 22

This spring, let’s spring into action and clean up our community. Join Mayor Brandon M. Scott and the Baltimore City Department of Public Works (DPW) for a day of citywide spring cleaning.

On Saturday, April 22nd, 2023, from 9am-1pm, Mayor Scott is encouraging all residents, neighbors, community associations, block leaders and organizations throughout the city to take charge, roll up their sleeves and clean up, clear out and declutter the walkways, alleyways and curbsides in their communities.

The East University Parkway (EUP) Taskforce & OIA are coordinating a neighborhood cleanup that day. We encourage all Oakenshawe residents to join OIA & EUP Cleanup or clean up around your own home or block. Participants who register their cleaning activities can request that City trucks visit their locations to collect debris. In addition to calling 311 to register cleaning activities, residents can also visit balt311.baltimorecity.gov. Registration ends Sunday April 16.

OIA & EUP Taskforce will meet on the 22nd at 9am at the corner of E. University Parkway and Barclay. We plan to pick up trash on the sidewalks and curbside, wrap up around 11:30am, and will provide bags, gloves, and trash grabbers. The group plans to cover E. University Parkway to Calvert Street, the alleys behind EUP on both sides; Barclay, from 33rd to Southway, and Calvin and Venable, from Barclay to Greenmount.**

We encourage all Oakenshawe residents to please join if you can!

If you can’t join on the 22nd, April is a great time to sweep and shovel curb and gutter areas for leaves, etc., that didn’t get picked up in the fall. Sweeping not only beautifies the neighborhood but prevents that material from ending up in the bay and clogging stormwater drains.

**The group may also cover E. 33rd Street, from Barclay to Greenmount, depending on the weather and number of volunteers.

Updates on Safety Concerns – Greenmount & Venable

In February, several members of the OIA Board attended a community meeting led by Councilmember Odette Ramos to address concerns about the long-standing safety issues as a result of drug-related activity at the corner of Venable and Greenmount, and nearby areas. Participants included individuals from several neighborhood groups and other concerned individuals.

Odette provided the following action updates and ideas from the meeting in March:

  1. Need to engage with the young people by offering food and resources. The team at the Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Safety and Engagement offered to provide training on proper engagement. The key is consistent engagement and resources. Attendees discussed the need for a small group to lead this.
  2. Engaging businesses in the area to put up more cameras.
  3. Continuing BPD engagement about this area.
  4. Desire to reinstate the Guardian Angels to do community walks in the area.
  5. Engaging the Mayor’s Office of Homeless Services (MOHS) for the Merryman’s lane area
  6. Addressing vacant homes on the 3400 Block of Old York Road, this is where the people who are experiencing homelessness and substance abuse are hanging out. MOHS has been there several times to offer housing. The two vacant homes were just sold to new owners and we hope the rehab will occur soon. The Councilmember will encourage them to please keep the premises safe.


Below are some important dates in 2023 that you should add to your calendar.

  • Monday, April 17: OIA Quarterly Meeting
  • Saturday, April 22: Mayor’s Day of Service Spring Clean Up
  • Monday, July 17: OIA Quarterly Meeting
  • Saturday, September 9: Annual Oakenshawe Block Party
  • Monday, October 16: OIA Quarterly Meeting


Do you have an interesting story to share about the neighborhood, a review of a local business, or a poem you’d like to share? If so, write a blurb for the next newsletter. Submissions can be as short as a sentence or as long as a few paragraphs. For longer content, please include a link to an external site. Submissions can be sent to John Hillegass at johnhillegass@gmail.com. Publication and editing decisions are at the discretion of the OIA Board.


Thank you to our Greenspace Volunteers!

Thank you to Louisa, Laurie, and all the volunteers who came out to be trained on how to mow and maintain the Greenspace. This great community asset is only great because of neighbors like you. We appreciate you!

East University Parkway Task Force Meeting, March 18, 2023

The EUP Taskforce, a wonderful neighborhood organization that represents part of Oakenshawe, is monitoring the rehab work and displacement issues at Guilford Hall, vacant properties and related trash on East University Parkway, JHU and Loyola student engagement, and leading engagement with the Department of Transportation to encourage traffic calming measures on East University Parkway. The next EUP Task Force Meeting is Saturday April 15 at 10:00 a.m.

Councilmember Ramos Weekly Newsletter

For those who do not already subscribe, Councilmember Ramos sends out a weekly District 14 newsletter (Oakenshawe falls within Council District 14) that includes updates on legislation in City Council, events around the District and City, and more. This is a good resource to stay up to date on local news. You can sign up for her weekly newsletter on her website.

On behalf of the OIA Board, we hope you have a wonderful April and we look forward to seeing you around the neighborhood.

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