Oakenshawe February Updates

Happy February Oakenshawe Neighbors,

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

  • OIA January Meeting Minutes & Committees
  • Oakenshawe Map
  • Save the Dates
  • Progressive Dinner 2023: Are you interested?
  • Oakenshawe Opines: Write for the Newsletter
  • Community Updates


On January 21, OIA held our annual meeting, in person, at the University Baptist Church from 4-5pm, immediately after the neighborhood’s parking permit pickup. Thank you for all who joined and we look forward to seeing you at a future meeting or event. Below are the minutes from the January meeting.

OIA’s Annual Meeting on Saturday, January 21, 2023. 

Treasurer’s Report: 
OIA has $3,278 in the bank. OIA brought in $2,150 in 2022 and spent $1,509 last year. Expenses included the Block Party on Homewood Terrace ($1,233), Halloween Parade ($177), and tree maintenance at the Green Space ($99).

Councilmember Updates: Councilmember Odette Ramos joined the meeting and provided updates on her budget town hall that was held at the YMCA on January 28, the East University Parkway Task Force’s safety and traffic calming project with the city’s Department of Transportation which is looking at options for East University Parkway and the 33rd and Barclay intersection, shared that the city forestry department is backed up with requests, lamented that weekly recycling likely is NOT coming back anytime soon, discussed issues related to trash and the new management at Guilford Hall, and let everyone know that the Waverly Book Festival is coming April 28-30. If you have any questions, please contact odette.ramos@baltimorecity.gov.  

Launch of OIA Committees: OIA President Zach Gieske shared the plan for a new committee structure to encourage more engagement of residents beyond the board and expand the capacity of OIA’s ability to support the neighborhood. The committees include: (i) Membership & Communications; (ii) Events; (iii) University Outreach and Safety; and (iv) Green Space & Trees. The committees each have a volunteer chair/co-chairs and will meet approximately once per quarter, or as needed, and provide updates at OIA quarterly meetings. The first task for each committee is to prepare a 2023 budget request for the next quarterly meeting.

Membership & Communications Committee: The Membership & Communications committee will be chaired by John Hillegass, but he is seeking a co-chair if you are interested. The committee will support the monthly newsletter, neighborhood bulletin board pilot (modeled off Abell’s), maintain the membership database, and create a block captain program to help welcome new neighbors and disseminate information. If you are interested in joining or becoming a block captain, please reach out to John at johnhillegass@gmail.com

Events Committee: The Events Committee will be chaired by Karen Stokes. While each OIA event will require a lead planner, the events committee will support and help coordinate. Anticipated events the committee will support in 2023 include a Green Space Field Day, a neighborhood Yard Sale, the Block Party on Homewood Terrace, and the annual Halloween Parade. The committee will also explore other events, depending on neighbor and committee interest, including reviving the House & Garden tour, Progressive Dinners (see more below), Oysters in Oakenshawe, and movie nights on the Green Space. If you are interested in joining, please reach out to Karen at karen.stokes2@gmail.com.  

University Outreach and Safety Committee: The University Outreach and Safety Committee will be co-chaired by Meg Olson and Matthew Mosca. In 2023, the committee hopes to collect opinions on starting a neighborhood patrol to address recent issues such as theft of catalytic converters, attempted robberies, and drug paraphernalia found in alleys. The committee will also plan a program to welcome university students in the neighborhood, including information on how to be a good city neighbor. Zach offered to bake some treats to share during the student outreach. If you are interested in joining, please reach out to Meg and Matthew at molson3737@gmail.com and mjmosca@mac.com.  

Green Space & Trees Committee: The Green Space & Trees Committee will be co-chaired by Laurie Feinberg and Louisa Creamer. The committee will oversee efforts to maintain the Green Space, including a regular lawn mowing schedule (volunteers needed) and the Oakenshawe welcome sign and garden. The committee will also explore formally merging the Green Space organization into OIA, coordinated tree planting efforts, and consider options for neighborhood-wide tree maintenance. Laurie and Louisa are looking for a volunteer to create a mowing schedule and 3-4 volunteers to mow the Green Space once or twice a year (takes about 1.5 hours). The committee can provide a brief orientation to the self propelled mower in the Spring. If you are interested in joining or volunteering, please reach out to Laurie and Louisa at laurie.feinberg@gmail.com and louisa.creamer@gmail.com


Check out the beautiful map of Oakenshawe made around 2008 as part of the Maps on Purpose project. Several community members worked with a local artist to create the map. If you would like a copy for yourself, please reach out to Louisa at louisa.creamer@gmail.com. Suggested donation is $5 to the Oakenshawe Improvement Association via check or Venmo @Oakenshawe. 


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

  • Monday, April 17: OIA Quarterly Meeting
  • Monday, July 17: OIA Quarterly Meeting
  • Saturday, September 9: Block Party on Homewood Terrace
  • Monday, October 16: OIA Quarterly Meeting


OIA organized a Progressive Dinner in 2018 and 2019. Are neighbors interested in doing one this year? 

What is a Progressive Dinner? A Progressive Dinner is a relaxed and easy way to get to know your neighbors. In March 2019, about 25 neighbors participated. One house hosted everyone for appetizers. Then we all received instructions to walk to our assigned dinner house (participants were split into smaller groups that were mixed up purposely so people dined with new neighbors) for entrees and a salad. Then we went on to a third house for dessert (two houses hosted desserts in 2019). In 2019 we did the event in March. 

For 2023, Karen Stokes, the Events Committee chair, would like to gauge interest in hosting another Progressive Dinner, on a Saturday night in March or April. If you are interested in the Progressive Dinner, please email Karen at karen.stokes2@gmail.com with:

  • Your Name
  • Your Address
  • If you want to participate, but not host
  • If you are willing to be a host house (and for how many people: 6 or 8) 
  • Whether you have any particular food preferences or restrictions
  • What Saturdays in March and April you CANNOT participate

If you don’t mind a crowd and would like to offer to be the first gathering house for the appetizers, let me know. Additional ideas are welcomed too. 


Do you have a story about a local business, an interesting piece of neighborhood history, or a poem or picture you’d like to share?  If so, consider sending it in for the monthly OIA newsletter. Submissions can be as short as a sentence or as long as 3-4 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.


Support Greenmount Businesses
Consider shopping or dining at a new or old-time favorite business along Greenmount. The more we support those businesses, the more new businesses will want to fill vacant storefronts. Check out the new Red Emma’s, get excited about the Chihuahua Brothers taking over the Hip Hop Fish & Chicken spaceToki Underground opening in the old Bottoms Ups Bagels spot, or visit old favorites like Pete’s Grille, Waverly Crabs, the Thai Restaurant, and many more. We’ve heard a new collective kitchen and a mini food hall may be considering moving to Greenmount, so if you can, let’s show our local businesses some love in 2023.

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 February and we look forward to seeing you around the neighborhood.

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