Baltimore’s Planning Commission approves Middle Branch plan

A sweeping vision to revitalize south Baltimore’s shoreline and 19 adjacent communities has been officially endorsed by the city.

Baltimore’s Planning Commission voted 7 to 0 on Thursday to adopt a master plan developed to improve 11 miles of shoreline along the Middle Branch of the Patapsco River in south Baltimore.

The commission meeting was the culmination of a multi-year effort led by a consortium of stakeholders from the public and private sectors.

Its vote means the Reimagine Middle Branch Plan now has the formal backing of Baltimore’s government, affirmation that will assist in both funding and implementation. No other public body has to vote on the plan, and no legislation must be signed into law for it to take effect.

The vote signals a commitment by Baltimore City and its partners to deliver parks, projects, and programs that unite 19 neighborhoods in South Baltimore by reconnecting them to one another and to the Middle Branch waterfront.

“The Reimagine Middle Branch initiative represents a transformative step towards creating a more equitable, just, and resilient public space that provides access to recreational and wellness opportunities for communities that have endured disproportionate environmental harm,” said Mayor Brandon M. Scott, in a statement after the meeting.

“This marks a significant moment for South Baltimore, showcasing the power of collaboration and consensus-building through the contributions of community leaders, residents, institutions, and young people,” Scott said.

“It’s a great vision. It’s a great plan. You’ve got great recommendations in the plan,” said commission chair Sean Davis, before the vote. 

The Reimagine Middle Branch effort is led by the City of Baltimore and the non-profit South Baltimore Gateway Partnership, working in collaboration with Parks & People, the South Baltimore 7 Coalition (SB7), federal and state agencies, and a variety of other local organizations.

The lead design consultants were James Corner Field Operations of New York, an internationally renowned landscape architecture and urban design firm, and Mahan Rykiel Associates of Baltimore. Field Operations replaced the team originally selected to lead the design effort, West 8 of Rotterdam.

A rendering shows an event lawn and stage planned for Middle …


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