Parts of the Chesapeake Bay watershed contain a high percentage of impervious cover – paved or other hard surfaces such as roofs and roadways that prevent rain water from being absorbed into the ground. Instead, water runs along these surfaces, collecting trash and substances such as motor oil, lawn fertilizers, and pesticides. This polluted stormwater flows into streams and rivers, where it threatens aquatic ecosystems and public health.
Effective stormwater management, on the other hand, creates safe paths for polluted runoff to be captured and filtered through the ground before it reaches waterways. This helps keep the environment clean and our communities healthy!
Project Location: Baltimore City, MD
Problem: As a result of the 2010 global financial crisis that wrecked the local housing market, the Druid Heights neighborhood in Baltimore City is overwhelmed with vacant lots. Vacant buildings, compacted urban soils, and other impervious surfaces contribute to stormwater runoff that flows untreated into local waterways. The Druid Heights Community Development Corporation, whose goal is to accelerate the revitalization of the neighborhood while creating a stable and safe community environment, saw opportunities to address several community issues, such as a lack of green space and gathering places and a lack of stormwater management, with the Growing Green Design Competition.
Solution: The competition created an opportunity for community groups to showcase innovative ideas for transforming vacant lots and blighted properties in Baltimore City communities. The Peace Park redeveloped two adjacent lots helping to revitalize Druid Heights. It created a colorful, functional, environmentally conscious, and sustainable site that serves as a gathering place for members of the community, in addition to treating stormwater runoff in its rain gardens and permeable pavers. This project was so well received by the community that Druid Heights is in the process of greening two more vacant lots that will also include stormwater management practices.
Funding Sources: Chesapeake Bay Trust, Baltimore City, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Partners: Chesapeake Bay Trust, Balti-more City’s Department of Planning and Department of Public Works, U.S. Envi-ronmental Protection Agency
Total Cost: $49,700
Size: 190 sq ft rain garden and 425 sq ft patio pavers