Weigh in on Competing Plans for Patapsco Middle Branch Waterfront

James Corner park rendering

The Middle Branch of the Patapsco River in South Baltimore is poised for a makeover. And the city is asking for public input on the three design proposals it’s considering to revitalize the waterfront.

Baltimore Mayor Jack Young and community leaders announced a “world-class urban waterfront project” that aims to connect more than 11 miles of Patapsco River shoreline within a network of parks and trails, adding land and water-based attractions.

The city held a competition for landscape architecture firms to come up with design concepts for the waterfront. Now, they’ve narrowed it down to three landscape designs, from the firms James Corner Field Operations, Hargreaves Jones, and West 8.

James Corner’s design is called “Middle Branch Shorelines,” with the tag line “Where Baltimore Meets the Bay.” It would use dredged materials from the port and sediment from Gwynns Falls to shape a living shoreline, and would build a series of piers, trails, and pedestrian bridges.

Hargreaves Jones calls its design “The Patapsco Strand,” and emphasizes the littoral zone, where land meets water in a rich ecosystem. The firm says there are ample opportunities for recreation in that zone, with a pavilion, boathouse, and elevated fishing pier.

 West 8’s”Blue Green Heart” design includes n ampitheater with a band shell.
West 8’s”Blue Green Heart” design includes n ampitheater with a band shell.

And the West 8 design calls itself “The Blue Green Heart: Unifying the Middle Branch.” It includes a makeover for the existing Middle Branch park, as well as a new Hanover Street Bridge park that would have a kayak stop and crab shack, with a nearby picnic grove.An ampitheater and boat-building school are among several new structures West 8 proposes.

The city has just revealed the three plans, and is asking for public comment before the winning design is chosen by a “jury of community and technical experts” who will ultimately recommend a firm to Mayor Young.

The public can see the designs in person and submit comments now through Wednesday, June 12 at the Enoch Pratt Free Library Cherry Hill Branch and at City Garage, or online by clicking here.

-Meg Walburn Viviano