About Park Heights

At A Glance:

The Central Park Heights neighborhood is located in the northwestern portion of Baltimore city.  It is bordered on the north by West Belvedere Avenue, the east by Pimlico Road, Pall Mall Road and Park Heights Avenue, the south by Keyworth Avenue, and on the west by Reisterstown Road, Litchfield Avenue, and Arbutus Avenue.

Central Park Heights’ area covers 0.569 square miles and has a population of 7,888 people. The population density of 13,871 people per square mile in Central Park Heights puts its density well above the Baltimore City average of 8,058 people per square mile. Residents of Central Park Heights are nearly exclusively African-American and more than 26 percent fall below the poverty line.  The median age of 28.3 among males and 33.7 among females are both lower than Baltimore City averages. 31.4% of households are single-mother households and the average household has 3.1 members.

History of Park Heights:

The Park Heights community was formally established in 1888.  This neighborhood became the home of many European immigrants.  The Park Heights neighborhood was located along two streetcar lines and houses were built within a five minute walk of a streetcar or bus stop.  By 1945, the Park Heights community was comprised of commercial and non commercial places of business, waiting areas for those using public transportation, sidewalks, and tree lined residential blocks.  Today, the Park Heights community is 96% African American and a very poor area.


The Park Heights community has a range of housing conditions.  Some areas have very high levels of vacancy and other areas have low levels of vacancy.


HIV, homicide and drug overdose are the leading causes of death in the Park Heights community.


There is a high rate of unemployment or people who are not in the work force in the Park Heights community.  Some residents are in school or retired.  Most have withdrawn from the work force because of lack of education or basic skills, drug addiction, felony convictions, and HIV diagnosis.

The top five employers in this community ( ranks in order based on the number of employees):

Sinai Hospital

Life Bridge Health

Pimlico Racing Association

Levindale Hebrew Geriatric Center

Police – North/Northwestern Districts


There are nine public schools in the Park heights community: five elementary school, three middle schools and one high school.  There is also a Catholic K-8 school.  All the schools are not meeting the MSA proficiency requirements, attendance is low and the school‘s are in poor condition.

Many adults have never had formal schooling.  There are many people in this community who did not complete high school and illiteracy is rampant.



In 2009, the median household income for a resident living in central park heights community was $34, 584 as compared to $38,772 for the greater Baltimore city community (City-data.com/neighborhoods, 2011).  During 2005 – 2009, the United States Census Bureau reported similar outcomes in regards to median household income for Baltimore city (U.S. Census Bureau, 2011).

The central park heights community is one of the oldest communities in Baltimore city (Maryland State Government, 2009).  According to information presented on the city data website; most of the attached row homes that line the streets of the central park heights community, and Baltimore city, were built during the first 39 years for the 20th century.  During this time period the central park heights community was mainly populated by the Jewish community (Maryland State Government, 2009).  The prestige of this once vibrant community begun to fade gradually in the 1950’s after WWII.  A vast majority of the Jewish community became attracted to life in the suburbs and began to migrate north to Baltimore County.  Housing develop in this community began to decline by 1939.  The sharpest housing decline for this community was between 1960 and 1980 and this community has not been able to regain the radiance it once possessed (City-data.com/neighborhoods, 2011).  The majority of the houses in this community are in poor condition from years of neglect.

As a result of the deterioration of this community, rent in the central park heights community is one of the poorest and cheapest places to reside in Baltimore city.  The average rent in Baltimore city in 2009 was $710; however, the rent for the central park heights community was $623 (City-data.com/neighborhoods, 2011).  Statistics from the city data website reports this community as being highly populated by the African American community (City-data.com/neighborhoods, 2011).  Individuals living in this community typically live below the poverty line; have higher household and family size when compared to Baltimore city.  Furthermore, females out number males living in this community which explains single mothers as head-of-household in this area.



While canvasing the central park heights community there was several obvious gathering spots and locations in this area.  These gathering spots and locations primarily consist of religious establishments and schools, youth community recreational centers, and a senior center.  Other establishments such as funeral homes, beauty salon and barber shops were secondary gathering spots in this community.  This area also has a Community Action Center commonly known as Community Action Network (CAN). 

Churches and schools

The central park heights community has a high number of religious establishments such as Baptist and Catholic churches.  There are approximately 39 religious assemblies in this community (Urban Institute, n.d.).  While observing the community, churches have marque full of upcoming church events.  Many telephone and light polls have billboards stapled informing the community about upcoming events in the community.

There are several public school systems located in this area.  Some of the schools in this area are Kipp Harmony School, Langston Hughes Elementary, Pimilco Elementary/Middle, and Edgecombe Elementary/Middle School (Baltimore City Public School, 2011).  The public school system in Baltimore provides services to students and their families (Baltimore City Public School, 2011).  Services provided to students and families by the public school system are parent institute and parent teacher association (PTA).  A single mother of four living in the central park heights community agreed to a brief interview.  During the interview this anonymous resident said that she lived on Grantley Avenue located off of Reisterstown Road.  Two of her four children currently attend Langston Hughes Elementary school.  This single mother stated that staff at the school has referred her to local food pantries, clothing giveaways, and free activities for her children offered by community partnerships affiliated with the school.

(Pimilco Elementary/Middle School)

Youth and Family Community Centers

This community has two primary community centers.  One community center is located on Park Heights Avenue and the other is located on Towanda Avenue.  The park heights community health alliance located on Park Heights Avenue assist low income residents with no medical insurance (Park Heights Community Health Alliance, 2010).  The two main programs this center offers are the primary adult care (PAC) and the Maryland children’s health program (MCHP).  PAC provides medical services to low income adults 19 years of age.  To qualify for the program, adults cannot have children and must be ineligible for other medical assistance programs.   MCHP is design to assist uninsured pregnant women and children 18 years old and younger with medical care.

Towanda recreation center is located on Towanda Avenue (City of Baltimore, 2010).  This center offers athletic activities such as football, lacrosse, soccer, volleyball, track and field; cheerleading, and weight training to name a few.  Craft activities and yoga classes are offered to older adults living in the community.  Towanda recreational center also provides after school activities before and after school days.  Services for this program are offered during the school year from September through June.  During the end of the school year until August summer camp is available.

Zeta Aging Facility

The Zeta Center is a facility for healthy and active aging adults.  According to the 2000 census for the state of Maryland older adults age 62 and over living in Baltimore city was 12.8 percent and older adults 65 and over was 10.0 percent (U.S. Census Bureau, 2000).  There are 11.7 percent of older adults 65 years and older living in Baltimore and 12.3 percent living in Maryland in 2010 according to the census bureau (U.S. Census Bureau, 2011).  In 2009 the zeta center opened their doors to the central park heights community.  The Zeta center is one of the most recent facilities built in this community.  This facility offers recreational activities such as pool, craft activities, and exercise equipment.  The facility services over 700 aging adults in the community.  While touring this facility, this establishment seemed spacious, open, and clean.  Noticeable to the pubic were continuous trails of community announcement boards covered with flyers.  Most of the members of the Zeta aging facility are 65 years old and older.



The central park heights community is overwhelmed by poverty.  Over 40 percent of the residents living in the central park heights community is inadequately educated (city-data.com /neighborhood, 2011).  City data website reports 26 percent of the residents living in this community live below the poverty level (city-data.com /neighborhood, 2011).  There are over 10 percent of unemployed persons living in Baltimore 25 years old and over (city-data.com/city, 2011).  Most of these individuals either receive financial assistance from social services or friends and family.  The three most common occupations for men living in this community are sales, construction/maintenance, and services jobs.  Among women living in the central park heights community are service, sales and health care occupations (city-data.com /neighborhood, 2011).  It takes an average of 30 minutes to travel to places of employment; leveling their homes around 8 a.m.



The vast majority of individuals living in this area owns a vehicle or utilizes public transportation.  Residents owning property in this community generally possessed at least one vehicle (city-data.com/zips, 2011).  However, residence renting property in this community typically travelled by public transportation services.


Major gathering spots and organizations typically are the primary source of communication in the central park heights community.  Furthermore, the media also serves as a method of communication to residence of this community.  Additionally, information for the central park heights community is available for residence online.  While observing the community in real time, it was observed that residence communicated with each other outside within the community.



Baltimore City Government.  (2010). Office of Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.  Retrieved from


Baltimore City Public School. (2011). Retrieved from www.baltimorecityschools.org/site/default.aspx?PageID=853

City-data.  (2011). Retrieved from www.city-data.com/city/Baltimore-Maryland.html

City-data.  (2011). Retrieved from www.city-data.com/housing/houses-Baltimore-Maryland.html

City-data.  (2011). Retrieved from http://www.city-data.com/neighborhood/Central-Park-Heights-Baltimore- 


City-data.  (2011). Retrieved from  www.city-data.com/zips/21215/html

City of Baltimore.  (2010). Retrieved from


Maryland State Government.  (2009). Retrieved from


Park Heights Community Health Alliance.  (2010). Retrieved from http://www.phcha.org/alive.php

U.S. Census Bureau.  (2000). Neighborhood statistical area: central park heights.  Retrieved from


U.S. Census Bureau.  (2011). Retrieved from http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/24/2404000.html

Urban Institute.  (n.d.).  National center for charitable statistics.  Retrieved from


Zeta Center for Healthy and Aging Adults.  (2011). Retrieved from



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