Blue Water Baltimore Partnership to Invest $2.5 Million in Five Neighborhoods

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Blue Water Baltimore’s community organizer, Elise Victoria, helped plant a block of trees in Highlandtown. Deep Blue enlarged each tree’s dirt pit which helps collect rain water, and also keeps trees healthy. Credit: Blue Water Baltimore

The term “partnership” seems to be so ubiquitous lately, that it’s a bit stale. But five Charm City neighborhoods may soon love the new and well-capitalized Deep Blue partnership when their entire neighborhood is planted with native trees, pocket parks, and urban forests. Add a few rain gardens, and the Deep Blue team, including residents, will design, fund, and install an entire neighborhood’s worth of green infrastructure. The goal is greener neighborhoods that better manage stormwater runoff, and also create prettier and healthier cityscapes. Deep Blue is a first-of-its-kind collaboration between Baltimore City’s Department of Public Works (DPW), and the non-profits Blue Water Baltimore and the Neighborhood Design Center.  

Blue Water Baltimore just received a sweet $500,000 grant from the Chesapeake Bay Stewardship Trust.  Blue Water Baltimore brings a suite of talents to Deep Blue in green design, water audits, watershed and horticulture know-how, and the most important, project management. The Neighborhood Design Center has been providing pro-bono design services since 1968, and has completed more than 2,000 projects. DPW is tasked with meeting the federal stormwater pollution limits (the ones we’ve never met). DPW has committed $2 million in stormwater funds to Deep Blue, and also key City labor and support. The result is that $2.5 million will be invested in the Mondawmin, Oliver, Greater Highlandtown, Belair-Edison, and Cherry Hill neighborhoods.

Deep Blue’s significant funding explains why two Maryland congressman (Dutch Ruppersberger and John Sarbanes) and the Environmental Protection Agency, to name a few big wigs, got their hands dirty at the Deep Blue groundbreaking ceremony in East Baltimore at the Prince of Peace Baptist Church.

“Deep Blue’s public and non-profit partnership is unique. Analyzing and executing an entire neighborhood’s needs at once will  produce results, and avoid planning fatigue. Our hope is that this model can be transferred to other areas,” said Carl Simon, Blue Water Baltimore’s Program Director.

With plenty of talent, cash, gumption, and effort, Baltimore City will soon get deep green with Deep Blue.

Laurel Peltier
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