Received this email, forwarded by a friend, and thought it was important to share it with you!

Although this is not how I hoped to start the new year, I am emailing to share some distressing news for historic buildings on Downtown’s Westside and to ask you to help save them by sending an email to Mayor Rawlings-Blake.  In late December a plan moved forward proposing to demolish in whole or part 14 of the 17 historic buildings on the “Superblock” on the west side of downtown, centered at the corner of Lexington and Howard Streets.  Baltimore Heritage, along with Preservation Maryland and the National Trust for Historic Preservation, have advocated to preserve these buildings as part of a revitalized Westside for over a decade.

The plan includes a proposal to demolish the former Reads Drug Store at Howard and Lexington Streets, the site of one of Baltimore’s first student-led lunch counter sit-ins.  This successful 1955 protest by Morgan University students led to the desegregation of the Reads chain in Baltimore and helped provide a model that guided later and better known student-led sit-ins at places like Woolworth’s in Greensboro, North Carolina.  We believe the Reads building is an irreplaceable part of Baltimore.  It helps distinguish our city and should be used as an asset for continued development.

This Thursday (Jan. 6) at 11:00 a.m., the Planning Department’s Urban Design and Architectural Review Panel will meet to consider the proposal.  Please email Mayor Rawlings-Blake at [email protected] and ask her to support preserving the Reads building and other historic places in the heart of downtown as part of our city’s continuing revitalization.

If you would like to attend the review panel hearing on January 6, it will take place at 11:00 a.m. at the Baltimore Planning Department (417 E. Fayette St., 8th Floor), near City Hall.

Please do send an email to the mayor and/or attend the hearing.  Our historic properties are quickly disappearing — along with the soul of the city!