Patterson Park Master Plan Working Group & Planning Committee
The first meetings of the Patterson Park Master Plan Working Group and the Patterson Park Planning Committee were held in Nov and Dec. These groups were formed as a result of the community’s response to the City’s plan for parking and paving in Patterson Park.
Planning Committee Updates (Open to All)
The first meeting of the Planning Committee was held on Wednesday, December 5th at the Virginia Baker Recreation Center in the Park. The Planning Committee (working name) is open to all community members who are interested in working on the review/evaluation the 1998 Patterson Park Master Plan but are not represented by any of the organizations serving on the official Patterson Park Master Plan Working Group (see below).
Here is a list of topics this group identified in the first meeting for future discussion.
If you didn’t attend the first meeting, and would like to be on the email list for this group, please contact Kristyn Oldendorf in Councilman Jim Kraft’s office
Patterson Park Master Plan Working Group Updates
The first meeting of the Patterson Park Master Plan Working Group was held on Wednesday, November 14th at the Virginia Baker Recreation Center in the park. Agenda 11-14-12 Patterson Park Working Group.
The group is Chaired by Mr. Bill Vondrasek, Director of Parks, Baltimore City Department of Recreation & Parks.
Participants include a representative and alternate from the following City departments and community organizations:
- City Departments – Recreation & Parks, Health, Planning, Transportation, and the Mayor’s Office of Neighborhoods.
- Nonprofit Organizations – Friends of Patterson Park, Parks & People Foundation, Patterson Park Audubon Society, Southeast CDC
- Neighborhood Associations: Hampstead Hill, Patterson Park, Patterson Place, Highlandtown, Canton, Butcher’s Hill, Fells Prospect
- Schools: Hampstead Hill Academy, Cristo Rey School, Highlandtown #215, Patterson Park Public Charter School
After establishing the meeting process, timeline, and discussing the scope, all participants were given the “homework” of reviewing the 1998 Patterson Park Master Plan after the first meeting. Participants are asked to identify areas and recommendations that have been completed, those that do not apply anymore or warrant further discussion, and those that still need to be addressed. The Working Group will set out to prioritize areas and choose a subset of the 1998 plan as our scope of work.
Notes from subsequent meetings:
Two Park User Studies are also being consulted by both of these groups and can be downloaded here:
Don’t Pave Patterson Park! (Notes from Sept – Nov 2012)
The Friends of Patterson Park views the park as a resource for all city residents and therefore supports the use of the Casino building for senior activities, but we are opposed to any plan which would reduce natural green space and increase vehicular traffic in the park.
We join Councilman Jim Kraft and our neighboring community associations, in opposition to paving Patterson Park green space for parking. (See Councilman Kraft’s letter below.)
What can you do to help?
1. Read the 1998 Master Plan for Patterson Park and offer your feedback and insights on areas from the Master Plan we need to revisit, new items that need to be addressed, and areas of the Master Plan that have been completed, or have not changed and do not need new discussion. You can share these with your neighborhood association representative serving on the Working Group, Kathy Harget at the Friends of Patterson Park, or attend the Planning Committee meetings (see above).
2. Sign the petition to express your support for NO parking or paving in Patterson Park – www.change.org/petitions/baltimore-city-s-department-of-recreation-and-parks-and-health-department-don-t-pave-the-park
3. Read also the two park user studies from 1995 and 2008 (see above).
Councilman Jim Kraft’s Letter to the Community
PARKING, DRIVING & PAVING IN PATTERSON PARK
On Wednesday, September 12 in a meeting attended by Dr. Barbot, the Health Commissioner (Heath Department “HD”) and Mr. Vondrasek, the acting Director of Recreation and Parks (“DRP”), and others, I received a copy of a drawing entitled “Patterson Park Parking Study.” If you would need a copy of this drawing, please contact my office.
This is not a “parking study”. It is a proposal by the DRP (the “Parking Plan”) to create both a loop road and build three new parking areas/lots along it that would create approximately 96 parking spaces in the Park.
I am opposed to this proposal.
In the proposal DRP also says that it will block off further vehicle access into the Park and remove some existing asphalt. These are not new plans; they are long-time, long-awaited actions. Actions that we have repeatedly requested be done and they repeatedly promised to do over a number of years.
The Wednesday meeting was precipitated by a recent formulaic HD loss of federal funding due to the City’s loss of population as measured by the 2010 census. This funding reduction has led to a number of decisions by Dr. Barbot. Those decisions affect us because they include:
* ending the adult day care service that the HD has provided for seniors in the Park’s Casino for many years,
* closing the John Booth Senior Center in Highlandtown,
* transferring the activities of the John Booth Senior Center to the Park’s Casino (referred to as the “Hooper Center” by HD) and
* expanding the John Booth and expanded Casino senior services in order to convert the Casino into the City’s major “flagship” east side senior facility.
Over the years, the HD’s usage of the Park’s Casino has been a non-intrusive and, by and large, unnoticed one. Most of those attending the facility have been transported there by bus, thus minimizing the need for both traffic in and out of the Park and parking for its use. The HD’s proposals would significantly change that dynamic and, consequently, the need for the Parking Plan.
I told both the HD and DRP that the Parking Plan is in conflict with many of the things that we have been trying to do in the Park for years; e.g., eliminate vehicular traffic and remove paved surfaces to increase green space. I also told them that these were not only goals that the community had been pursuing, but they were goals that DRP had been pledging to reach.
By the end of the meeting, a number of points became clear:
* the HD is committed to both moving the John Booth Senior Center to, and expanding its senior activities at the Casino;
* DRP, long committed to the same goals as we with regard to traffic and parking, seems to be reconsidering that commitment and
* DRP is reviewing its decision to renovate and expand the Virginia Baker Recreation Center (the “Rec Center”) based upon its re-examination of the available parking.
What makes this decision to review so disconcerting is that DRP’s plans for the project have never appeared to have been conditioned upon the acceptance and/or approval on our part of any parking or increased vehicular access plans in the Park.
DRP has requested an opportunity to present this Parking Plan to all of the communities surrounding the Park in a series of meetings over the coming weeks. There is some belief that those who live in different areas around the Park have different attitudes about being able to drive, park and pave the Park. I have agreed to host those meetings to not only assure everyone of my continued opposition to the Parking Plan, but also make certain that accurate information gets out to as many folks as possible.
The meeting dates and locations are being coordinated with DRP and the HD and will be forthcoming shortly.
In the meantime, it is my belief that there may be an effort by some to portray this as a seniors vs. the Patterson Park community conflict. This would be a ruse and an attempt to divide our community, pit neighbor against neighbor and portray us as parochial obstructionists.
We all know that this is not the case. In fact, I have made it very clear to all that the issue here is very simple and our message is very clear:
PROTECT PATTERSON PARK – NO MORE CARS, NO MORE PARKING, NO MORE PAVING!
This link will take you to the rendering: http://xa.yimg.com/kq/groups/12547548/1028628389/name/Parking+Study+Rendering-09-12-12.pdf