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Patterson Park Master Plan 1998

Email from Katherine Brower: May 28th,2014

Dear Patterson Park Working Group Members,

This project has gotten off to a running start and it is great that all involved are excited and enthusiastic about getting the work on updating the master plan underway.

With that being said, BCRP is currently working through the contract agreement with Mahan Rykiel.  Unfortunately, City procedures dictate that we are not technically permitted to start work on the project until the contract is signed and approved.

As a result, we will need to postpone the scheduled meetings and direct work with the consultants until the contract is approved.  This means the site visits (starting tomorrow May 29th) and the June 3rd monthly and other formerly scheduled meetings are cancelled.

We expect to have the necessary paperwork completed in time to resume the regularly scheduled monthly meeting on July 1st.

In the meantime, Mahan Rykiel has prepared some park user surveys that you can conduct until the work resumes. I will send them to you as soon as I receive them along with any necessary instructions.  I will also be following up with you with additional work tasks suggested by Mahan Rykiel together with the work tasks previously identified.

Again, I want to reiterate that we expect to continue work with the consultants in time for the July 1st monthly meeting.

Best regards,

Katherine Brower
Urban Planner
Capital Development and Planning

Summary of Patterson Park Master Plan Meeting: May 28th, 7pm at the Casino

On Monday, February 24th Councilman Kraft hosted a public meeting at the Patterson Park Casino to discuss the Patterson Park Master Plan and the next steps to update the plan. The meeting was attended by over 60 people.

Councilman Kraft welcomed everyone to the meeting and recognized City and organization representatives. The representatives present included: Bob Wall, Director of Recreation; Kate Brower of Recreation and Parks; Arnold Eppel of the Health Department; Liam Davis of the Council President’s Office; Jennifer Robinson of the Friends of Patterson Park; Susie Creamer of the Audubon Society; Valerie Rupp of Parks and People; and several community association presidents and vice-presidents.

Councilman Kraft gave a brief background of the Working Group, which can also be found in his statement “Patterson Park Master Plan Review.” It is available on the Councilman’s website:

The Councilman then explained that the Working Group had identified several areas of the Master Plan that they felt were important to focus on. These areas are:

1. Capital Improvements

2. Maintenance and Governance

3. Ecology and Natural Resources

4. Programming

5. Historical Connections

It was decided that five committees would be formed to work on each of these areas. There is also the possibility of creating other committees as needed, such as a Finance/Economic Development Committee. We passed around sign-up sheets for each of the five committees so that people could put their names down for any committee(s) that interested them. Each committee will need a chair or co-chairs to organize and run the meetings.

Over the next few months, it is estimated that Committee Chairs will be required to meet at least two or three times a month. Membership on one of the committees may require attendance at meetings once or twice a month. The goal is to complete the entire review and compile all of our recommendations by the end of the year. So, as we move into the summer, depending upon the committee on which one might serve, the frequency of the meetings may increase. Committee Chairs are expected to attend all of the meetings. Members are encouraged to attend as many as possible but are expected to attend most.

Please contact Councilman Kraft’s Office if you are interested in participating on one or more of the committees.

As people were signing up for committees, Councilman Kraft answered some questions. The questions and answers were roughly as follows:

Question: What funding will be available to implement the plan?


 Bob Wall– There is currently $3 million set aside for the renovation of the Recreation Center. The plans to renovate the Rec Center are on hold as the Master Plan Group and the Department of Rec and Parks decide what should happen with the building, but the money will remain in place for Patterson Park.  There are also possibilities for bonds, fundraisers, etc.
Councilman Kraft – The Mayor has indicated that she is supportive of this effort. Private fundraising is also a possibility. The Canton community is currently fundraising for a splash pad at Dypski Park. Something similar could be done around Patterson Park. There is also some hope for some larger private donations.  Councilman Kraft recently introduced legislation that would establish a Green Fund to be used exclusively for parks and for cleaning the harbor. The establishment of this fund was already approved by voters as a charter amendment. Now we need legislation to authorize the City Council to dedicate revenue for this fund. Councilman Kraft will also be introducing legislation to require a five cent fee on plastic bags at stores. The purpose of this bill is to deter people from using plastic bags. The revenue from this fee will be dedicated to the Green Fund and will go toward park projects and cleaning the harbor.

Question: How will we update the community on the progress and work of this group?

Councilman Kraft – We can post the notes on our website as well as the websites of the Friends of Patterson Park and the Department of Recreation and Parks. The Baltimore Guide has also been helpful in reporting the work of the group. Furthermore, the community association representatives who are involved will take the information back to their groups to keep them updated.

Question:  Can you describe what each of the committees will focus on?

Answer: Please see the list following this summary

Question: Where will the enforcement of Park Rules come in?

Councilman Kraft – The Maintenance and Governance Committee will discuss this.

Councilman Kraft then indicated that all meetings will be open and anyone is welcome to attend any meeting but reiterated that we really are looking for some dedicated people to consistently attend and participate in the committee meetings. The Chair of each committee will be responsible for the work and schedule of their committee. There will be general meetings monthly for all the committees to come together and discuss where they are.

The next general meeting will be on Thursday, March 13th at 7:00pm at the Rec Center. We invite everyone to attend. At this meeting we will be appointing Committee Chairs and organizing next steps. Please feel free to share this information.

Descriptions of Committees

  1. Capital Improvements.  An inventory is needed of the Park’s current and future capital improvements and needs.   Capital improvements are needed most urgently in the Park’s interior lighting as this has significant impacts on real and perceived public safety issues.  Additional areas of focus should include: the White House, revitalization of the main promenade and mall surfaces, paths and pavement in the Park, and Park entrances.  Specific planning should address a plan for future use of the space created by the moving of the maintenance yard and stable building.
  1. Maintenance and Governance. This review should evaluate and revise maintenance and operational protocols for the Park, while addressing longer-term governance questions, specifically alternative models for park maintenance, such as a Conservancy model.  There is an interest on the part of the Friends of Patterson Park and community members in considering an enhanced role for the Friends under any future model.  Specific outcomes of this review should include a GIS analysis of all park assets and landscape features.
  1. Ecology and Natural Resources.  The Park provides ecological services in a highly urbanized part of Baltimore City and the Chesapeake Bay.  Environmental functions related to water management, tree cover, wildlife habitat and vegetation, are among several natural resource aspects of the Park that can be examined.  The Park’s role in the City’s Sustainability Plan can be examined.  Specific areas of priority in this area include creating a “tree master plan” for Patterson Park that would address current and future tree cover.  Water quality and drainage issues will also be important to address, and would necessitate the inclusion of a hydrological assessment.  Among other resources, the Audubon “Bird’s Eye View” report and plan should play an important role in these conversations.
  1. Programming.  The Park has a full range of program activities—sports, youth programs, senior programs, concerts, school, after-school and family environmental programming and its unique events, such as the annual Water Ballet and the Halloween Lantern Parade. Additionally, program for the new Virginia Baker Recreation Center and the renovated Utz Field should be addressed.
  1. Historical Connections.  As we approach the bicentennial of the Battle of Baltimore, any revision of the master plan for Patterson Park should address current and future historical preservation efforts and attendant programming in order to educate park users on the important historical aspects of the Park.  Historical connections will likely touch on several of the previous categories, including capital projects, and programming.
  2. Finance.  There will likely be a need for a Finance Committee. This group will discuss ideas for funding the implementation of the various aspects of the Master Plan. This could involve funding from the City, the State, private donations, grants, community fundraising, etc.

Update from the Patterson Park Working Group (December 2013)

Members of the working group came back together with representatives from Rec and Parks last week to hear their report on an engineer’s estimate of the cost of the community’s preferred parking plan for the Virginia Baker Rec Center and Casino Building.  We were appreciative that Bill Vondrasek (Dir. of Parks), Bob Wall (Dir. of Recreation), Gennady Schwartz (Chief of Capital Development), and Kate Brower (Urban Planner for BCRP) all made the effort to be present.

At the meeting, facilitated by Councilman Jim Kraft, it was announced that instead of moving forward with any plan for new parking in the park, Rec and Parks would like to take a step back and work together with community groups and individuals to review and update the existing Master Plan for Patterson Park, which was completed in 1998.  This had been an original goal of the Working Group, and we are in agreement with the city that it will allow us to plan for any changes and development in the park from a holistic perspective.  We believe this will have the best chance of ensuring Patterson Park continues to thrive and meet the needs of community members.

The master plan review will put every option for the park on the table, and give us a new opportunity to consider the importance of recreation and history in planning for capital changes and improvements in the park.  We will work to ensure that several different options for community input are built in over the course of this work.

In order to facilitate this process, which is anticipated to take approximately a year or more, the city will allocate funds from their capital budget and hire a facilitator to lead the process and ensure community engagement throughout.

We will be looking to involve community associations, schools, businesses, nonprofits, and individuals in the process, although specifics will continue to be worked out.

If you have questions or would like to get involved, please contact me at 410-276-3676 or

See you in the Park!

Jennifer Arndt Robinson

Executive Director

Friends of Patterson Park

To read the Master Plan, click below!

Patterson Park Master Plan