Photo via Councilman Eric Costello’s Facebook page.
Photo via Councilman Eric Costello’s Facebook page.

A portion of the eastern side of Federal Hill slid down to the 900 block of Covington Street at the base of the park. Crews with the Departments of Recreation and Parks and Transportation are now working with the engineering firm RK&K to stabilize the area and put in place a long-term plan to prevent further erosion at the site.

City Councilman Eric Costello, whose 11th District includes the neighborhood, posted pictures from the scene this morning, saying it appeared that the slippage occurred last night.

There was slippage at Federal Hill Park on to 900 block of Covington St, which occurred at some point last evening. @RecNParks is aware and I have asked the Director of @BmoreCityDOT to have site inspected and determine if Covington St needs to be shutdown until it is cleaned up.

— Eric Costello (@CouncilmanETC) December 21, 2018

Workers with the city agencies spent the morning placing sand bags and a temporary piping to control the flow of water as engineers work on a plan for grading the hill and working on the infrastructure below the surface, he later posted.

In a statement about the repair work, Recreation and Parks public information officer Whitney Clemmons Brown advised the public to “stay clear of this area as we continue to work.”

Adam Boarman, chief of capital development for the department, wrote in an email that the problems may stem from leaking underground infrastructure.

“We believe that the problem originated from leaky storm water utilities running through the park,” he wrote. “The erosion has been exacerbated by the extreme rains this year.”

He also said workers are stabilizing the slope.

An email chain between local elected officials and city employees, obtained by Baltimore Fishbowl, shows residents raised concerns about the state of the park earlier this month. Over the last couple years, neighbors have complained about holes appearing on the hillside and deep cracks in the sidewalk at the end of Warren Avenue overlooking the park. More recently, the sidewalk began to buckle and flex posts at the end of the street tilted downward.

On Dec. 16, Costello sent an email to residents with plans from Boarman to temporarily address the erosion. They called for cleaning out storm drains and repairing broken ones, inspecting a water line “along top of slope between Warren Ave and E. Hamburg St. and repair[ing] leaks if found” and making sure downspouts from nearby homes were not directed toward the slope.

Brandon Weigel is the managing editor of Baltimore Fishbowl. A graduate of the University of Maryland, he has been published in The Washington Post, The Sun, Baltimore Magazine, Urbanite, The Baltimore...