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$9M Museum Honoring Black Athletes to Open in Druid Heights

Baltimore will get a new museum devoted to black athletes in the Northwest section of the city that officials hope will jumpstart the area's revitalization.

The Druid Heights Community Development Corp. is building the Negro Baseball Museum and Restaurant at 2101-11 Pennsylvania Ave., the site of the former jazz club that hosted legendary performers Billie Holiday and John Coltrane. The group hopes the museum will bring jobs and visitors to the neglected area.

The CDC will put out a bid in June for a construction firm and expects to begin building the museum later in the summer, says Roscoe Johnson, Druid Heights' director of real estate development. The Black Athletes and Lost Legends Association, a Baltimore nonprofit, will operate the museum and an adjacent caf�.

"Hopefully it will attract other businesses to the area," Johnson says. "It's very important that we do this right and it looks good."

Funding for the $9 million museum comes from the state, State Farm Insurance Cos., federal New Market Tax Credits, and foundations.
Baltimore's urban design panel gave final approval for the museum April 14. Druid Heights won the right to develop the project after the Baltimore Development Corp. sought out proposals to redevelop the former Sphinx Club.

The 14,000-square-foot museum and Negro League Caf� will create as many as 85 jobs, Johnson says.

The museum will focus on black athletes from Baltimore in a variety of sports, including boxing, football, basketball and baseball. It will also highlight black athletes who comprised the Negro League, the black baseball players who had their separate teams before the sport was integrated.

Writer: Julekha Dash
Source: Roscoe Johnson, Druid Heights Community Development Corp.
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