Neighborhood Testimonials

Bill Joyner, MSW

Bill Joyner on his porch in Union Square

Bill Joyner is not only a coordinator in the University of Maryland, Baltimore's (UMB) Office of Community Engagement, he's also a student at the University of Maryland Carey School of Law. A graduate of the School of Social Work at UMB, he manages the University's local purchasing initiatives and coordinates local purchasing for UMB and the University of Maryland Medical Center. He also leads UMB’s YouthWorks program for West Baltimore and other community engagement projects.

Office of Community Engagement
Union Square Resident 

How long have you lived in Union Square?

My partner and I bought the house in November 2016 and started living here the following New Year’s Eve. Before that, I lived next door in Hollins Market for five years.

What originally made you want to buy a home here?

We really wanted to buy a house with a big yard, private parking, and space for our family to visit long term. We also didn’t want to give up walkability. Union Square is where we could afford to have all of the above.

What set the neighborhood you live in now apart from other places you’ve lived?

I lived in Hollins Market before buying this house four blocks away in Union Square. My partner, Adam, lived in Mount Vernon before we lived together. He loved it there but prefers Union Square. I think it’s mostly the sense of tight-knit community and the affordability that set Union Square apart.

What do you love most about living in your neighborhood?

I love that this little group of neighborhoods feels like a small town — we all know our neighbors, have social events in the parks and our houses and at local businesses. At the same time, I can walk to work, restaurants, community gardens, a grocery store, a gym, theaters — all the big-city amenities.

What is your relationship like with your neighbors?

Our neighborhood is super close-knit. Union Square frequently hosts social events where we all get to know each other, which leads to dinner parties and celebrations that we share like an extended family. We look out for each other for things as small as housesitting to as big as looking out for neighbors when they are sick.

What are some of your favorite things to do in the area?

Zella’s Pizzeria is like my home away from home. It’s a place I can walk to in five minutes to get amazing food, meet up with friends, or catch up with the staff, who become a part of your life. Once there was a huge blizzard that shut down the city. Half the neighborhood went to Zella’s and had a big game night. They were able to open the restaurant because so many of their employees are our neighbors, living within blocks of the restaurant. It’s so hard to find that old-fashioned sense of togetherness that we have here.

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