BALTIMORE - A group of Baltimoreans are working together to stop a proposal that would add parking spaces and a new road into Patterson Park.
The park is known for its green space. Many believe fighting the proposal is the only way to keep it that way.
More than 1,000 people have signed a petition to block the proposal and 800 people have "liked" a Facebook page created to connect and rally the community to stop the proposed changes listed in the "Patterson Park Parking Study."
The plan calls for the creation of a new loop road plan and for the construction of three new parking areas that would hold about 96 spots, which would cut down on the amount of green space in the park.
The "Patterson Park Parking Study" says it would block further access into the park, and remove some existing asphalt. But in councilman Jim Kraft 's letter to the community he said these plans were already in the works.
In that letter Kraft, who opposes the proposal, lists the following ways that the changes would also impact the community:
- Ending the adult day care service that the HD has provided for seniors in the Park's Casino for many years,
- Closing the John Booth Senior Center in Highlandtown,
- Transferring the activities of the John Booth Senior Center to the Park's Casino in Patterson Park (referred to as the "Hooper Center" by HD) and
- Expanding the John Booth and expanded Casino senior services in order to convert the Casino into the City's major "flagship" east side senior facility.
"We don't necessarily have a problem with the seniors, we have a problem with putting more cars in the park and putting more paving in the park," Kraft said.
Gwendolyn Chambers, from the Baltimore City Recreation and Parks Department gave the following statement:
"Baltimore City Recreation and Parks remains committed to addressing the recreational needs of Baltimore's residents. We understand the concerns expressed by members of the community about proposed improvements to Patterson Park and take them very seriously. We are pleased to join Councilman Kraft during a series of meetings to seek community input on such an important issue."
Those against the parking expansion argue the park offers the only green space for thousands who live nearby.
"We are against the loss of any green space in the park and certainly against the increase of car traffic in the park," said Jennifer Robinson. "We feel the park is an asset to city residents, so we're not opposed to senior activities in the casino building. We hope there's a creative way that we can meet the needs of the seniors."