Community discusses proposal for Patterson Park Boat Lake

Changes include wall and wildlife habitat

November 29, 1999|By Dave Foster | Dave Foster,CONTRIBUTING WRITER

By late spring, Patterson Park Boat Lake could be on its way to becoming more environmentally sound when renovations are launched, including a stone wall that would encompass the 2.5 acre body of water, project consultants say.

About 30 community members gathered at Patterson Park Recreation Center last week to review and discuss preliminary plans for the lake work, which were drawn up by KCI Technologies Inc. of Baltimore. The project will be put out to bid in early spring, organizers say.

While some neighborhood residents expressed reservations about replacing the 3-foot-high fence around the lake with a stone wall that's closer to the water and could allow easier access to the lake, most went away convinced it would not be a safety hazard, officials said.

Myra Brosius, a landscape architect with the Baltimore City Department of Planning, said residents' concerns about the proposed additions to the lake were valid. "I completely understand why people would have concerns, but I feel most of it was reactive to removing something like a fence. As the discussion went on, most of that anxiety went away," Brosius said.

In addition to the wall, proposed renovations include a fresh-water well in the park, increasing the lake's depth from 4 feet to 8 feet in places, repairing storm drains, and creating a series of "forebays," which are pools near drains along the sides of the lake that collect silt, sediment and debris.

"A lot of the community felt strongly they would like to have large sections of water where they could look out over the water and fish, but keep some of the cattails because there are these great birds, ducks and red-wing blackbirds that live there," said Nancy Supik, president of Friends of Patterson Park.

Nicholas Linehan, a landscape architect for KCI, said the renovations should reduce undesirable vegetation that runs rampant on many of the banks and should create a wildlife habitat in the lake's northwest corner.

Linehan said the new stone wall would prevent large amounts of sediment and nutrients from running into the lake and direct a majority of debris and sediment to the forebays, which could easily be cleaned.

The changes also would lower levels of phosphorus in the water, decrease algae blooms and fish kills, improve the lake's overall health and encourage more balanced plant growth.

"The new plans allow you to go down and get close to the water," Supik said. "There will be places where you can sit and stick your feet in the water. This is very different for the lake."

The plans also include a wooden walkway through the wildlife habitat and a new boathouse on the lake, Brosius said. However, because construction estimates are $300,000 over the $1 million budget, she said the project has two options before it goes out to bid in early spring.

"We can stop the project and look elsewhere for more funds or we can pare back. The final estimate will have to be at budget," Brosius said.

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