PRESERVATION ISSUE:

Can Woodberry's Woodlands and Development Co-Exist?

       OPEN SPACE AREAS in Woodberry, a tree-studded community between Cylburn Arboretum and Druid Hill Park, is being considered for development. The acreage, bounded by Coldspring Lane on the north, Greenspring Avenue on the west, the Jones Falls on the east, and Druid Hill Park on the south, is owned by a variety of entities, including BGE, the City of Baltimore, and Lifebridge at Sinai, which acquired property formerly owned by Children's Hospital.

       When the Baltimore Development Corporation (BDC) solicited requests for proposals for use of some of the land in 1998, one of the proposals was for a Loyola College sports complex. Another suggested use for the land is a townhouse development that would cause the removal of many trees.

       Citizens alarmed at the prospects of increased traffic and the loss of green space banded together to form the Urban Forest Initiative, a grassroots federation of neighborhood activists that has a goal of preserving, revitalizing, and promoting what the group sees as a watershed forest connecting Cylburn Park to the north and Druid Hill Park to the south.

       The group, which is petitioning against the Loyola College proposal, held a "Rally to Save the Woodberry Woods" on Saturday, October 21.

Land Trust Proposed

       In order to protect the land, the group seeks to establish a land trust for the remaining forest and open space in Woodberry. As part of the plan, streams feeding into the Jones Falls would be cleaned and stream banks would be restored. Trails, gardens, a native tree nursery, and a forest products market (firewood, mulch, wood chips) would be established. The plan would involve youth in stewardship, education, and employment activities. This month, students from Friends School will spend their Quaker Day„a day of community service„working to improve the forest.

       The Initiative's plan also calls for stabilizing existing housing in Woodberry and supporting controlled in-fill residential development there.

Other Urban Areas At Risk

       Realizing that Woodberry is one of many rural-like areas within the city, the Initiative seeks to improve housing and open spaces in other parts of the city as well. On Sunday, November 5, from 1 to 4 p.m., there will be an opening meeting about forming Charm City Land Trusts. The meeting will be held at 2525 Eutaw Place.


       The Urban Forest Initiative lists endorsements from the Maryland Conservation Council, Inc., Herring Run Watershed Association, Jones Falls Watershed Association, the Baltimore Bird Club of the Maryland Ornithological Society, the Clean-Up Coalition, Students for Environmental Action, the Greater Homewood Presidents Council, the Neighborhood Congress of Baltimore, Maryland United for Peace & Justice, Maryland Interfaith Coalition for the Environment, and Maryland Alliance for Greenway Improvement & Conservation.

       For information about Charm City Land Trusts, call Jim Kelly at the Community Law Center, 366-0922, or Steve Soifer at the University of Maryland School of Social Work at 706-7927.

       For details about the Urban Forest Initiative, call Stan Edminster at 542-5584. See also the website at http://www.csos.jhu.edu/jne/urbfor/urbanforest2.htm

 


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This story was published on November 1, 2000.