Four more miles of trail:

City Awards $4.2 Million Construction Contract For Gwynns Falls Trail Phase II

The Gwynns Falls Trail will provide a continuous off-road recreational corridor connecting neighborhoods with parklands, cultural resources and historical landmarks.

On December 19, the City of Baltimore’s Board of Estimates awarded a $4.2 million construction contract to add four miles to the existing 4.5 miles of the Gwynns Falls Trail. The trail, a hiking and biking greenway that runs through West Baltimore along the Gwynns Falls stream valley, will eventually span 14 miles, from Leakin Park/Gwynns Falls to the Inner Harbor.

Phase I of the trail, completed in 1999, runs from Franklintown Road to Leon Day Park. Phase II construction, to be performed by Peak Incorporated of Columbia, is expected to begin in early spring of this year, and will extend from Leon Day Park to Carroll Park. Phase III, which will connect Carroll Park to the Inner Harbor and the Middle Branch, is expected to be complete by late 2003.

Through a unique partnership project spearheaded by the Trust for Public Land (TPL), a national land conservation organization, the Gwynns Falls Trail will provide a continuous off-road recreational corridor connecting neighborhoods with parklands, cultural resources and historical landmarks. The Trail will also provide access to existing recreational and cultural sites including the Carrie Murray Nature Center, Outward Bound facilities, and Chesapeake and Allegheny steam train rides in Gwynns Falls/Leakin Park. The route will eventually connect to the B & O Railroad Museum, Mount Clare Museum House, the Baltimore Rowing and Water Resource Center, the football stadium, Camden Yards, and the Inner Harbor.

Of the $4.2 million appropriated, approximately $3 million was allocated from the federal transportation program TEA-21. The state of Maryland allocated $110,000 in local POS funds, Baltimore City allocated $900,000 in Motor Vehicle Revenue (MVR) and $40,000 from the General Fund.

Rose Harvey, Mid-Atlantic Regional Director of the Trust for Public Land said, "As a native Baltimorean, this announcement has special meaning. This is a critical link and an important next step in a 14-mile greenway providing families a place to ride bikes, play baseball and visit the nature center. The Trail will connect 20 neighborhoods from the under-served western edge of the city to the Inner Harbor. Parks have never been more important, and the Trust for Public Land is thrilled to be part of this vital community link."

The Trust for Public Land, a national non-profit organization, commissioned the master plan for the Gwynns Falls Trail in 1996 and has since acquired eight properties for trail linkages. Through the generosity of many foundations, TPL has donated more than $2 million toward the completion of the Trail. The Trust for Public Land has helped protect more than 3,500 acres in Maryland, including acquisitions for the Gwynns Falls Trail; Montgomery County's largest land and preservation project, consisting of 800 acres; and the 300-acre Sahlin farm outside of Annapolis.

Overall, TPL has protected over 1.3 million acres of open space nationwide.

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This story was published on January 2, 2002.