During year one, I pushed to allocate money to redesign Memorial Park and the adjoining streetscape around the new Menkiti development, which will host the City’s newest bar and restaurant, Pennyroyal Station. My vision is to transform this underutilized and poorly designed park – located at the intersections of 34th, Perry, Rhode Island, and 33rd Avenues – into a welcoming outdoor park that encourages congregation and foot traffic.
Revitalizing this park can be a key towards improving the economy in our downtown. Its location – at the intersection of the business corridors of 34th Street and Rhode Island Avenue – makes it a prime space to encourage congregation. When folks currently walk through these business corridors, one is hard pressed to find a bench to sit on or a green space to relax in while enjoying your smoothie from the Waterhole. As a result, most folks visiting one of our charming stores like Nisey’s or Glut do so by way of the automobile, rarely meandering through our public spaces after going in and out of one store. By focusing on better design for our public spaces, we can help to revitalize our downtown to encourage more foot traffic and, in turn, more economic activity.
Towards this end, I worked to cultivate a relationship with the University of Maryland's Real Estate Development and Landscape Design programs to assist in the redesign of this project. With lots of community input, the initial drawings from the graduate students in their Landscape Design program look promising, and I love seeing a dream come to life.
Once the City settles on a design, we will then seek state funding for the construction itself. So while we've made some progress, we still have more work ahead. Onwards!