Public Process and Planning Underway for the ‘Reimagine Middle Branch’ Plan

| September 27, 2021 | 0 Comments

Reimagine Middle Branch, a plan to reconnect South Baltimore to the 11-plus miles of shoreline along the Patapsco River, has started the public input process. James Corner Field Operations, the landscape architecture firm selected to lead this plan, held a meet-and-great and day of activities on the water on September 12th. A public meeting will also be held virtually this Wednesday.

Reimagine Middle Branch is a partnership between James Corner Field Operations and its design partners; South Baltimore Gateway Partnership, which is funding the plan; and Baltimore City.

James Corner Field Operations, which was selected via a design competition, will spend 12 months creating the plan. It is currently about three months into that process. On Wednesday, some preliminary renderings will be shared with the community.

“Our goal over the next 12 months is to gather input from the communities in South Baltimore and other local stakeholders to put together a community-driven plan,” said Megan Born, senior associate landscape architect and urban designer at James Corner Field Operations. “The second goal is improvements to parks, connections, and trails. And, the third goals is to launch catalyst projects and activities.”

Born said the areas taking priority are publicly-owned areas around the Middle Branch such as Middle Branch Park and the park space on Ridgely’s Cove behind the Horseshoe Casino Baltimore Garage.

Much of the the waterfront is owned by private entities such as the Port Covington Development Team, which is undertaking a large redevelopment of the Port Covington peninsula; Stonewall Capital, which owns 43 acres of waterfront land in Westport and is planning a mixed-used redevelopment; and casino owners CBAC and its partners on the Warner Street District entertainment development.

Born said there are stakeholder committees and meetings for the different property owners. She called the plan a “collaborative effort.”

More than 200 people attended the community event for Reimagine Middle Branch on September 12th.

Born said the plan “could be incredibly transformational for the communities as well as for all of Baltimore in a massive scale.”

She added, “It’s an incredibly special and unique site. I think it’s kind of immeasurable the amount of change that could take place. It’s exciting as an architect, but more so exciting for the people who live here.”

Born said Baltimore’s Inner Harbor was “an urban design model of its time” and called it the “commercial heart of the city.” She said the Middle Branch will be different as it will be green and recreational with “ecological benefits, inclusive programs, and activities.”

Born is hoping for a lot of community input during the public meeting on Wednesday.

Map from Reimagine Middle Branch

Photos of James Corner Field Operation display boards from the Design Competition (click to enlarge)

James Corner Field Operation concepts video by Parks and People Foundation 

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