Darley Park Gateway Park

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What is polluted runoff?

Parts of the Chesapeake Bay watershed contain a high percentage of impervious cover – paved or other hard surfaces such as roofs and roadways that prevent rain water from being absorbed into the ground.  Instead, water runs along these surfaces, collecting trash and substances such as motor oil, lawn fertilizers, and pesticides.  This polluted stormwater flows into streams and rivers, where it threatens aquatic ecosystems and public health.

Effective stormwater management, on the other hand, creates safe paths for polluted runoff to be captured and filtered through the ground before it reaches waterways.  This helps keep the environment clean and our communities healthy!

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Lot before revitalization. Credit: The 6th Branch
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Lot after revitalization. Credit: The 6th Branch

Problem: Post-demolition lots in the Darley Park neighborhood were strewn with trash and had sat for decades unused. Gateway Park is located at the center of the neighborhood and was also plagued with vehicle traffic and compacted soil that contributed to stormwater runoff. It was an eyesore and diminished the neighborhood’s charm and safety. 

Solution: To turn the vacant lot from a liability to an asset, community members organized gatherings and installed inviting art and play equipment to spark interest in revitalization. They reached out to Parks & People for technical assistance and, with funds from the Chesapeake Bay Trust, designed a community park that incorporated stormwater management features. Twenty new trees and four bioretention areas were incorporated into a design that now provides a safe place for residents to gather and socialize. 

Community Engagement: The 6th Branch, a veterans nonprofit organization, maintains the site one day a week with the help of community volunteers.  

Project Location: Baltimore City, MD

Type of Project: Other - Reclaiming and Repurposing

Size: 20 trees & 4 bioretention areas totaling 2,194 ft2

Pollution Reduction: 5.72 lbs nitrogen, 0.6 lobs phosphorus, 221.94 lbs sediment

Total Cost: $629,175

Funding Sources: Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development, Chesapeake Bay Trust, Under Armour/ESPN

Partners: Parks & People Foundation, The 6th Branch, Baltimoreans United in Leadership Development (BUILD), the Waterfront Partnership, the Neighborhood Design Center, Civic Works

Contact Information
Laura Connelly | Parks and People | laura.connelly@parksandpeople.org
Key project facts
Project Type
Project Scale
$250,000 - $499,999
Story Focus
Environmental Justice
Community Engagement
Stormwater Funds
Problem Addressed
Runoff Pollution
Year Installed
State Legislative District
Federal Legislative District
MD 7th