Reimagine project revamps outdoor spaces in Baltimore
The city of Baltimore, South Baltimore Gateway Partnership, Parks and People Foundation and James Corner Field Operations unveiled an urban renewal project. It will renovate more than 11 miles of shoreline along the Patapsco River in South Baltimore.
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Called the Middle Branch, the area traditionally was inaccessible to the predominantly minority communities nearby. Incorporating these previously segregated populations into the hub of river activity was at the core of the planning process. So much so, in fact, the planning team eliminated the term “masterplan,” deeming it a slave reference, and replaced it with the project name “Reimagine Middle Branch.”
The overall design plan features a connection to nature with new parks, playgrounds, fishing piers, wetlands (to improve flood resiliency) and pedestrian bridges. Planners are including a sports area with a baseball field called Black Sox Park, which is named for the Negro League Baseball team that used to play there. The park also takes advantage of other historically and culturally significant sites in the area through a connection with the African American Heritage Trail.
Although a primary goal of the project is to increase equitability within the region, attention is equally given to public health and the environment. A press release outlined the three guiding principles of the project: “Protect and connect the shoreline; transform barriers into connections; and strengthen communities with parks and programs.”