The Compass - September eNews from Baltimore Planning

Photo of Flower Garden with Compass Logo
The Compass is a monthly eNewsletter of the Baltimore City Department of Planning.

September, 2014

A Message from the Director…

In the May edition of the Compass, we introduced you to the Growing Green Initiative and the design competition that was launched by the Mayor at the time.  This month we are pleased to join the Mayor in announcing the winning designs submitted as part of Baltimore's Growing Green initiative (GGi) design competition. 

A key GGi strategy is to promote and implement a variety of sustainable, innovative and effective practices to help beautify our city, while at the same time making Baltimore a more sustainable urban environment.

The winners of the GGi design competition sponsored by Baltimore City, the EPA, and the Chesapeake Bay Trust were announced on Tuesday, September 16th, at an event at the Cylburn Arboretum where a people's choice award was also chosen by those in attendance (see below).

Now that we know what they're planning, I look forward to seeing these creative greening proposals become reality.  These sites also will serve as inspiration for implementing innovative greening solutions on other vacant parcels across the City.

Thomas J. Stosur, Director

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Growing Green People's Choice Award Winner...

Drawing of Future Urban Farmstead

Event attendees were invited to vote for their favorite competition proposal and we are pleased to announce that the winner of the People’s Choice Award is the Baltimore Urban Farmstead Initiative, Strength to Love II (Newborn Community of Faith)! 

The Baltimore Urban Farmstead Initiative design focuses on leveraging food, water and energy resources for people, place and prosperity.  The team will be receiving a consultation with the Chesapeake Bay Trust on how to write a successful application for the Community Engagement and Restoration $5,000 Mini Grant.

Picture of the PeoplesChoice Winners

Historic Tax Credit Changes on Deck

On September 15th, the Department of Planning held a successful seminar on recent changes to the historic tax credit- the appraisal-based calculation system that will go into effect October 1, 2014 and the NEW online application system that is now live!!!

Over 60 people were in attendance, including developers, real estate agents, and rehabbers. For those interested in accessing the online application, they can go here or they can visit the CHAP Tax Incentives Website for application requirements and program updates!

Familiar Face in a New Role:

Eric Holcomb, New Historic Preservation Chief

Photo of Eric Holcomb, New CHAP Director

The Department of Planning is pleased to announce that Mr. Eric Holcomb began his new role as the new Executive Director of the Commission for Historic and Architectural Preservation (CHAP) on September 1, 2014. 

Mr. Holcomb, who has served as a preservation planner for CHAP since 1994, was selected after an extensive nationwide search.  

Within the Department of Planning, the Preservation Division serves a key function that includes the review of permit applications for renovation and new development in local historic districts, as well as the administration of the City's historic tax credit program, which has grown substantially in recent years. 

Mr. Holcomb, is a resident of Baltimore City, holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Saint Mary's College of Maryland and a Master of Arts Degree in Historic Preservation from Boston University.


Baltimore is Growing Green

Photo of Mayor with the GGi Turtle

The results are in, and we were pleased to announce the winners of the Baltimore Growing Green Design Competition last night in the Vollmer Center at Cylburn Arboretum.

The Baltimore City Growing Green Design Competition: Vacant Lots Transformed was launched in conjunction with the Mayor’s Growing Green Initiative in May, 2014 to showcase innovative concepts for retrofitting vacant lots in Baltimore City and turning community challenges into community resources.  

Growing Green Initiative Logo

Goals of the competition were to foster partnerships between community groups, design firms, non-profits, and private organizations, test the Green Pattern Book, and reduce and treat stormwater. 

Photo of Citizens Looking at GGi Project Posters

Thanks to our sponsors - the Department of Public Works, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the Chesapeake Bay Trust - $300,000 has been awarded to seven different teams to implement their designs.  We would also like to thank all of the applicants who submitted their designs. We appreciate all of the time and hard work that went into the creative process of imagining our vacant lots as beautiful, vibrant green spaces. 

And the winners are:

Peace Park, Druid Heights CDC

Design Drawing of Druid Heights Peace Garden

Peace Park (2033 Druid Hill Ave) will create a dynamic space that takes into account the past, present and future of Druid Heights, while providing a vibrant and functional area for people of all ages. 

The Peace Park will include trees, a pervious walking path, solar-powered walkway lighting, patio areas, decorative fencing, landscaped areas including a rain garden, and an open green space for passive recreation.

Bridgeview/Greenlawn Community Enhancement Project, Chesapeake Bay Foundation

Design Drawing of Winner #2

The Bridgeview/Greenlawn Community Enhancement Project (2306 Riggs Ave) will remove a large amount of existing impervious surface to create a community managed open space that treats stormwater with a large rain garden.

The space will include a variety of native vegetation including trees, shrubs, and grasses that will provide beneficial habitat for urban wildlife as well as providing educational opportunities for the community, school children, and faith groups.

The Dayspring Green Parking Garden Project, Civic Works

Drawing of Dayspring Green

The Dayspring Green Parking Garden Project (1101 N Bradford St) has been designed to achieve net zero runoff.  The site will consist of roughly 10 angled parking spaces created from grass paver grids.  The grids will be designed in the shape of large olive leaves, creating a sense of movement and peacefulness that will be visible to the women and children in the upper residential floors of the Dayspring building.

A bioswale and rain garden will also be installed to filter and slow down the absorption of stormwater as well as trap pollutants and silt.

The Flower Factory at Broadway East, Real Food Farm

Drawing of Flower Factory Design

The Flower Factory at Broadway East (1400 N Gay St) will be a production flower farm and during the spring, summer, and fall months, tidy rows of vibrant blooms will grace the center of the sloped lot, creating a fantastic visual display. 

The site will also feature a rain garden and evergreen tree plantings that will provide continual aesthetic appeal throughout that year creating a welcoming gateway into Broadway East. 

Photo of Real Food Farm Project Sponsors

A-MAZE-N Recovery Fruit Garden, Jane’s House of Inspiration

Image of Amazin Design

The A-MAZE-N Recovery Fruit Garden (1100 North Ave) will serve as a metaphor for the recovery process.  The garden will be designed as a maze that will provide multiple pathways to find the fruit, and will enable visitors to have the autonomy to choose their own path. 

The garden will serve as a safe oasis to promote health and healthy eating with the planting of a variety of fruit trees and berry plants.    

The site will also feature a micro-bioretention area and cistern system to treat stormwater runoff and provide water to the sites for the gardens and landscaping.

Coldstream-Homestead-Montebello Gateway Garden

Drawing of CHM Gateway Garden

The Gateway Garden’s goal is to create an inviting green space (32nd St & Harford Rd) that serves as a gateway into the community and improves the area aesthetically as well as ecologically.  The site will feature a central, curvilinear pathway that will be bordered by native flowering meadows and will have intricately painted totem poles throughout.

The site will also feature a large bio-retention area, rich with water loving plants to collect stormwater.

Lots of Art, Hollins Roundhouse Association

Image of Lots of Art garden

Lots of Art (1218 W Lombard St) will be a community managed open space that provides passive recreation space and a site for public arts and entertainment, that simultaneously addresses stormwater management on site.

The result will be a community space where residents can relax, host community events, or simply gather for neighborhood socializing.

You can explore an interactive map of winning locations online.

Image of Map with Winning Garden Locations