The Sumpter Park Improvement Page
A group of residents living near Sumpter Park (Sumpter Park Residents Association) and MRIA (Mt. Royal Improvement Association - the neighborhood association) are working together to encourage and develop positive changes to the park. I have been appointed by MRIA to work on its behalf in this process.

Last year it seemed like the park might be developed for housing. Although some residents thought (and still think) this might be a good idea, most residents overwhelmingly support keeping the park. City officials agreed to take no action toward developing the park.

The SPRA and MRIA approached the Neighborhood Design Center (NDC) for help. We applied for and have been awarded technical assistance. NDC recruited a volunteer landscape architect firm. A group of residents representing the two associations have begun meeting with the architects. Based on the list of issues and wishes developed by the community at large and on discussions with the small group of representatives, the architects have been developing several drawings depicting different options.

We are working now to refine these drawings and to bring one or more of them to the larger groups of residents. The goal over the next couple of months is to receive assistance that will develop a workable and widely accepted plan, assign priorities among its various elements, and determine how to get it funded and implemented.

If you have ideas or assistance to offer, please let the MRIA president know


Update: September 3 2002; Semi-Final Draft Plans
please review  and send you comments to the MRIA presidnet

Click on the image for a larger view. Click here for a printable pdf file

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The volunteer landscape architects working with MRIA and the Sumpter Park Residents Association have created a preliminary final design for Sumpter Park.  They used their previous three sketches and resident comments to create it. Any input received will be discussed with the architects and help get us to a final plan.

Landscape Architect Design Comments, August 2002

"We found that most people preferred the informal concept to the more formal concept but had issues with some of the use locations.  (See three earlier sketches elsewhere on Bolton Hill website.)

Passive Lawn Area - We figure this can be a space that is more used for people who want to sit or walk.  We have placed some benches in it and utilized some low (no higher than 18-24") groundcover / perennial border plantings.

The primary circulation runs in a serpentine walk from the bottom to the top of the site. 

The area near Spicer's Run has an open plaza area that could be used for active gatherings.

"o the left of the plaza we have reserved another small open space with border plantings that could be used for a playground if the neighborhood decides that's what they want.

We removed some trees in the center of the park to enhance the open lawn area.  Getting more sun into this space will help it feel safer and more spacious -- not to mention that the extra sunlight will be very beneficial to the grass.

We are proposing improving both of the alleyways by adding lighting and changing the paving material.  Although we don't predict these to be the primary circulation routes throughout the park, the improved condition will help the edge treatment. 

We are also proposing widening the alley on the right side to 12' to make it feel more spacious.

Throughout the site we are showing new pedestrian scale lights (10-15') and new bollard lights to increase nighttime security.

Throughout the site we also propose new plant material - from grass to groundcover to perennials.  The quality of materials and appearance of a space goes a long way in measuring its success.


Update: May 30: Preliminary Concept Plans:
please review by June 30 and send comments to MRIA president
Click on any image for a full view
Click here for a printable PDF file
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Concept 1 is basically the same park with basic site improvements such as benches, urns with flowers, new lighting, an entry sign, a kiosk for messages, a drinking fountain, and a child play area in the northeast section.  It would include a fenced dog run in the northwest section of the park.  There might also be alley improvements that would add dimension and definition to the park area.  A dog run is still a new concept in Baltimore and requires both more information and specific approval before it could be implemented

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Concept 2 is considered a more informal concept.  It includes the same items as above.  It also includes replacing the concrete paths with a brick promenade and a shelter or platform in the southwest play lawn that could serve as a band shell.  There would also be some slope seating near by.  The areas adjoining the alleys to the east and to the west would be upgraded with perennial plantings, mulch, curbs and wrought iron fencing, while still permitting the use of the alleys as access to residents' garages and rear property.

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Concept 3 is considered the more formal concept.  It changes the southwest active play area to an unfenced dog run -- it limits would be defined by plantings and topography, although some fencing could be along the alley boundary to the west.  The meandering concrete path is re-structured to provide a sight line from Linden through to Spicer's Run.  It also includes a community plaza that might serve as space for a flea market or trike riding.  One of the north sections could be a child play area.  The southeast active play lawn would be slightly larger than before and could be edged with some slope seating

A volunteer landscape architect firm met recently with representatives from the Sumpter Park Residents Association and Mt. Royal Improvement Association to present and discuss 3 possible concepts for improving Sumpter Park.  The landscape architect volunteers who are developing the concepts and drawings are Kimberly Hofkens, Amy Gilder, and Keith Weaver of LDR/HNTB.  Kevin King is the point person with the Sumpter Park Residents Association, and John Kyle is representing MRIA.

Some improvement ideas are in each of the drawings.  Others ideas appear only in one or two of the drawings.  We are not voting on any one of these concepts as a final rendering.  Rather the three versions give all of us some ideas as to how various suggested elements might work if put into the final plan.  It is expected that a final plan might include some items from one concept and other items from another concept.  Other concepts in the final plan might come from the comments/reactions of the neighborhood to these preliminary concepts.  Then, a final plan would be available for review

The three concepts reflect ideas expressed by the neighborhood at large.  They consider that all existing and neighborhood-friendly uses might continue, although these uses might change somewhat in how they are carried out.  (If there is only one active play area, for instance, then there could only be one sports event at a time.)  The overall purpose is to try to make the park more inviting for more of the neighborhood residents both by how it looks and by a wider variety of specific uses that it encourages

Alley improvements might include re-paving or re-surfacing that would help them to be part of the park as well as continue to serve their roadway function.

Along with preparing a final plan, the landscape architect firm will help in determining costs for the various elements and where to seek funds to implement them, as well as assist in determining logical priorities for what to do first.  The firm would also help determine what items were basic to put in place (like wiring and water sources) even if the first steps did not require them, so that future steps could be undertaken with as little disruption as possible