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Big plans in store for Druid Hill Park!

This has been a LONG time coming! Druid Hill Park is one of the oldest in the country, third only to Central Park, NY and Fairmount Park, PA

Druid Lake's $290M overhaul would add new recreation, entertainment areas

By Melody Simmons – Reporter, Baltimore Business Journal Sep 16, 2022 Updated Sep 17, 2022, 8:31pm EDT

Plans are in the works to reshape and modernize Druid Lake with areas for public swimming and boating in the centerpiece lake all overseen by an elevated boardwalk that will stretch across the water like a ribbon.

The vision to reimagine the lake in the 745-acre Druid Hill Park in West Baltimore was described to the Urban Design and Architecture Advisory Panel (UDAAP) on Thursday by officials of Unknown Studio, a Baltimore landscape architecture. The firm is working with the city Department of Recreation and Parks on the project that will kick off after a massive overhaul of the lake and its infrastructure, now underway, is completed. A timeline for the work at Druid Park Lake is not yet finalized.

Druid Hill Park is one of Baltimore's gems and is among the top three in the U.S. in age and stature next to Central Park in New York and Fairmount Park in Philadelphia, said Nick Glase, principal at Unknown Studio, who is overseeing the overhaul. The park sits near the Maryland Zoo, the Jones Falls Expressway and Mondawmin Mall with a man-made lake that was first built in 1863.

The park's reinvention will cost about $50 million of the total $290 million cost estimated to reshape the area s including adding a "complete street" redo for bicycle and pedestrians on Druid Park Lake Drive, Unknown Studio officials said. Funding is expected to come from federal, state and local sources as well as foundations and private donations.

The plan would reset Druid Hill Park for future generations, city officials said, and spark new economic development in the community that has long suffered from disinvestment, crime and vacancies.

"We really wanted to aim high," Glase told the panel. "We want to be looking back and looking forward. We asked: How can this project serve the city as for access and a sense of welcome?"

The plan to reshape the park would take place in phases, with the first costing about $150 million. It would focus on installing two large underground tanks, being installed now by the Department of Public Works to hold 52 million gallons of drinking water. The tanks sit at the northern portion of the lake and will be covered with grass for an open green space and incorporated into the park's design. Other new features described to UDAAP include:

  • A new public swimming area in a quadrant of the 1.5-mile lake.

  • A new boating area with boat rentals for recreational use.

  • A 2,000-square-foot boat house that will also hold a cafe on the second floor facing the lake.

  • An amphitheater for outdoor entertainment, also at the lake's edge.

  • A standalone education building for community gatherings and classes.

  • A raised boardwalk that would span two areas of the lake and offer a unique promenade over the water.

The ambitious plan was generally well-received by UDAAP. The panel had several suggestions for refining the designs and making access points into the park more uniform along busy Druid Park Lake Drive that abuts the lake and a portion of the park off the JFX and Reservoir Hill.


Content by Vidona Residential Columbia Realtors

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