Gwynns Falls Trail Phase II Launched (MD)

altimore, MD, 5/29/2002: The completion of the long awaited 14-mile Gwynns Falls Trail came closer to reality as Phase II was launched today in a ceremony that included Mayor Martin O’Malley, Recreation and Parks Director Marvin F. Billups, Jr., Gwynns Falls Trail project partners and local residents including students from area schools and recreation centers. Phase II, which will consist of a three-mile stretch of the Trail from Carroll Park Golf Course to Leon Day Park, will eventually link more than thirty Baltimore City neighborhoods and provide access to 2,000 acres of parkland and recreational and cultural amenities.

The event, held at Carroll Park Golf Course, the terminus of the second phase of the hiking and biking trail included a community planting and scavenger hunts, and offered attendees a chance to tour the trail, in progress. Many attendees viewed the project from a different perspective as they looked down on the trail’s ribbon of green from a tethered hot air balloon.

“The Gwynns Falls Trail is a resource of the future. Through it residents will have an opportunity to explore nature and enjoy our beautiful city, linking 34 communities to the Inner Harbor and the stadiums at Camden Yards,” said Mayor O’Malley.

The Gwynns Falls Trail is a 14-mile hiking and biking trail from Gwynns Falls/Leakin Park to the Inner Harbor and the Middle Branch of the Patapsco River that is being developed through partnerships with the State of Maryland, the City of Baltimore, the Parks & People Foundation, the Trust for Public Land, and the Gwynns Falls Trail Council. Phase I of the trail—a four-mile section linking Gwynns Falls/Leakin Park to Leon Day Park—was completed in the summer of 1999. Phase II, currently under construction, links Leon Day Park to the Carroll Park Golf Course. Phase III, which will connect to the Inner Harbor and the Middle Branch, is expected to be complete in fall 2003, in tandem with Phase II.

“We are excited about working with our partners to breathe new life into urban neighborhoods and create recreational opportunities for all ages,” said Mr. Billups of Recreation and Parks.

Public and private funds raised for the $5.04 million development of Phase II include approximately $3.44 million from the Federal Transportation Program (TEA-21) through a State Highway Administration grant, $100,000 in state-allocated local Program Open Space funds, $1.5 million from Baltimore City Motor Vehicle Revenue funds. An additional $1 million for land acquisition was provided by the State of Maryland, Department of Natural Resources Program Open Space. Major private support for the Gwynns Falls Trail has been provided by Wallace-Reader’s Digest Funds, The France-Merrick Foundation, The Abell Foundation, Pew Charitable Trust, the Baltimore Orioles, Rockport/Reebok Anti-trust Settlement, American Conservation Fund-American Greenways Dupont Award, and Chesapeake Bay Trust, as well as many other generous philanthropic partners. The $4.2 million Phase II construction contract was awarded to Peak Incorporated of Columbia, Maryland.

On Earth Day, April 22, 2002, Governor Parris N. Glendening announced a State Highway Administration grant for an additional $1 million for federal TEA-21 funds to complete the construction of Phase III.

“We are excited to see the progress being made to bring the trail from a dream to a reality. It is our expectation that the trail’s construction will open opportunities for the community to access the many exciting historical, recreational, educational, environmental, and cultural resources,” said Jacqueline M. Carrera, executive director of the Parks & People Foundation. “When finished, we are going to have one of the world’s premier urban greenway trails.”

“We are thrilled to be able to help provide such a tremendous resource that is already available to so many Baltimore City residents and look forward to extending the trail and its outreach,” said Rose Harvey, senior vice president of the Trust for Public Land. “We owe many thanks to the agency partners at the local, state, and federal level that have provided resources to make this project a reality, and the private partners for their ongoing support of this effort.”

The Gwynns Falls Trail will provide a corridor connecting neighborhoods with parklands, cultural resources and historical landmarks. The trail will also provide unique access to existing recreational and cultural sites including the Carrie Murray Nature Center, Outward Bound facilities, and Chesapeake and Allegheny steam train rides in Gwynns Falls/Leakin Park. The route will eventually connect to the B & O Railroad Museum, Mount Clare Mansion House, the Baltimore Rowing and Water Resource Center, PSI Net Stadium, Camden Yards, and the Inner Harbor. The Gwynns Falls Trail is also part of the National Park Service’s Chesapeake Bay Gateways Network as the Gwynns Falls Trail and Greenway Connector.