Gwynns Falls Trail project gets under way

December 01, 1997|By Brenda J. Buote | Brenda J. Buote,SUN STAFF

Baltimore schoolchildren and educators will stand by Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke tomorrow morning as he breaks ground for the Gwynns Falls Trail.

The ceremony for the first phase of construction on the proposed 14-mile trail is slated to begin at 10: 30 a.m. on Franklintown Road between Winans Way and Wetheredsville Road at the original entrance to the old Crimea Estate. The celebration will cap years of planning by the city, community groups, the nonprofit Parks and People Foundation and the Trust for Public Land, a nonprofit conservation group.

The trail will connect parks and neighborhoods, following the Gwynns Falls stream valley from Leakin Park to the Middle Branch of the Patapsco River.

The 4.5-mile section that will be built first was designed by landscape architects with Daft-McCune-Walker Inc. of Towson. The asphalt trail will stretch from Franklintown Road to the edge of Edmondson Village and cost about $1.3 million to complete.

Funding will come from the Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Fund, a federal transportation program and other sources.

"The path will be accompanied by restrooms, several small bridges, two or three parking lots and a picnic pavilion," said Chris Ryer, director of the Baltimore program of the trust.

Park planners believe the scenic preserve will become a popular place for in-line skating, bicycling, walking and sightseeing. They are hoping it will become as well used as Maryland's other trails, such as the Northern Central and B&A.

Construction of the first section of the 10-foot-wide trail is scheduled to begin next month. If the work should be completed by the end of the summer, Ryer said.

During the first phase of the project, the playing fields at Leon Day Park will be spruced up, Ryer said. The park was named for the Hall of Fame Negro Baseball League star who lived in the Rosemont neighborhood.

Work at Leon Day Park will begin at the close of the baseball season next year and is expected to take about two months, Ryer said.

In the second and third phases, the hiking and biking trails will be expanded through Carroll Park to the Inner Harbor and the Middle Branch of the Patapsco.

The Trust for Public Land has helped the city acquire about 20 acres along and near the route of the Gwynns Falls Trail.

Pub Date: 12/01/97

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