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Promoting sustainability in the communities of Southwest Baltimore County

SWVF is a registered 501c3 non-profit organization established to address the economic development of Southwest Baltimore County. A citizen board partners with County and State officials plus other stakeholders to achieve grants and facilitate improvements that benefit the community.

Southwest Baltimore County is a designated Sustainable Community. The Sustainable Communities Program is a place-based designation offering a comprehensive package of resources that support holistic strategies for community development, revitalization and sustainability. Led by the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development, Sustainable Communities has provided local governments with a framework for promoting environmentally, economically and socially responsible growth and development in existing older communities. 
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Embracing our heritage while shaping our future

Sustainable Community Designation

image credit: National Archives Catalog, "A3378 - Enumeration District Maps for the Twelfth Through Sixteenth Censuses of the United States, 1900-1940," catalog.archives.gov/id/5832532.

October 22, 2021

"The Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development today announced Arbutus has become Maryland’s newest Sustainable Community. With this designation, Arbutus becomes the ninth designation in Baltimore County and 123rd in the state. By earning a Sustainable Community Designation, local governments are provided with a revitalization “toolbox” of state resources including programs, loans, grants and tax credits that can support brick and mortar community projects, small business development, job creation and tourism.

Arbutus’ Sustainable Community Area is in Baltimore County, located south of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) campus and is bordered by Patapsco Valley State Park to the south and west. Arbutus is uniquely positioned and able to serve as a hub for a diverse technology, industrial business community, and provide direct access to major commuter routes such as I-95, I-695, I-895, and I-295, and is six miles from BWI Airport. Additionally, Arbutus is just 20 miles away from the Washington DC Beltway, providing further access to several business communities and federal employment centers.

In addition to the Sustainable Community Designation, Arbutus has been designated as a Local Historic District, a Commercial Revitalization District, a Design Review Area, and a County Enterprise Zone, which all further encourage neighborhood revitalization and economic development. Arbutus’ key outcomes of the new designation include improving stream water quality and increasing the tree canopy, attracting and retaining more businesses such as grocery stores and cafes, creating a more complete bicycle and pedestrian network, encouraging homeownership and promoting relationships between the community and UMBC students and faculty, and lastly, to expand upon the area’s existing assets for the arts."

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