Charlie Jones

The Institute for Community Economics was founded in 1967, and I knew about it within a few months. Like other “alternative institutions” founded in the 1960s, it had interesting ideas but few resources. The most interesting of its ideas, I thought, was ICE’s community land trust model. A great idea, but who was going to do it? Community development was certainly not my world.

Due to the civil rights and antiwar movements and other causes, I landed in Washington, D.C. where I had no appreciable local connections. By sometime in the 1980s, the 1960s were clearly over. As far as I knew, ICE and its community land trust idea were gone with the 60s. But a neighbor invited me to a large community meeting, promising “It’s something you’ll like.” It turned out to be a community land trust presentation by ICE. I’ve liked it for many years now, and served on the CLT board and on ICE’s land and housing committee

Upon my long-delayed return to Baltimore, I attended a neighborhood association meeting and encountered Jim Kelly, who had been a co-founder of the Washington CLT and was now trying to repeat that success with Charm City Land Trusts. He had no difficulty inducting me into the effort. I have seen the model in action and it works, and it will work in Baltimore.