Evaluating the Impacts of the Community Legacy and Neighborhood BusinessWorks Programs: A Review of Twelve Selected Communities

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The Community Legacy program was established in 2001 through a bill introduced by the administration of former Maryland Governor Parris N. Glendening as part of the larger Smart Growth and Neighborhood Conservation Initiative. The Community Legacy program and its companion effort, the Neighborhood BusinessWorks program, were specifically created to direct state resources to existing community-scale neighborhoods as part of the state’s broader effort to reverse a decades-long trend of urban disinvestment and abandonment. Considered somewhat unorthodox when they were started, these programs have since become readily accepted by local governments as mainstays of their revitalization strategies. In this study, the National Center for Smart Growth, working with the Division of Neighborhood Revitalization at the Department of Housing and Community Development, conducted an analysis of randomly selected Community Legacy investments from the period 2002 to 2005. The analysis provided an assessment of the impact and effectiveness of the Community Legacy program and the value of its awards to communities undergoing revitalization.