Tag: jones falls

Lube Oil, 41,000 Gallons of Sewage Leak into the Jones Falls Over Weekend

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Still via Facebook/Baltimore Harbor Waterkeeper

Baltimore’s Jones Falls and Inner Harbor took a beating this weekend and on Monday, with an underground sewage leak and a 50-gallon oil spill to boot.

Man-Made ‘Fatberg’ Causes 1.2M Gallons of Sewage to Overflow into Jones Falls

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A small “fatberg.” Photo courtesy of Blue Water Baltimore.

The creatures that inhabit Baltimore’s Jones Falls are more than familiar with the putrid overflows that arrive with even moderate rains. But last Thursday, on what should have been an off day for sewer discharges, a whopping 1.2 million gallons entered the waterway thanks to a gunky, man-made buildup in a sewer line running below Station North.

Submerged Kayaker Rescued from Jones Falls on Sunday

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Jones Falls Near Mill No. 1
Jones Falls near Mill No. 1

Rescue crews managed to save a kayaker who was stuck underwater for several minutes in the Jones Falls on Sunday afternoon, outlets report.

A Harris Teeter In Hampden? Local Residents Upbeat, Community Associations Wary on New Pepsi Plant Redevelopment

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Last November, when Baltimore developer Himmelrich Associates bought the 13-acre Pepsi distribution center on Union Avenue in Hampden (next to the Union Mill), it announced plans for a mixed-use development. Himmelrich paid $6.75 million for the property, and the cost to develop was estimated at $100 million.

There’s a New Mill in Town: Living On the Jones Falls

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Hot House: Mill No. 1, 3000 Falls Road, Baltimore 21211

Repurposed brick cotton mill, circa 1873, with views over the Jones Falls.  Eighty-four luxury apartments,  850-1,500 sq. ft.   Studios, 1 and 2 bedrooms – some with lofts – and two 3 bedroom penthouses. Includes fitness center, infinity pool overlooking the river, two restaurants, office space, garage parking, building manager in residence:  $1,200 to $3,000/mo.

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What: David Tufaro’s team at Terra Nova Ventures has (mostly) completed its much-anticipated renovation of historic Mill No. 1, and it’s now open for business. One of several textile-producing mills built along the Jones Falls in the nineteenth century, Mill No.1 spans the river, two buildings connected by an enclosed bridge. A second, open ironwork bridge has been added.  It’s a dramatic setting, and Tufaro, together with Ellicott City architects Alexander Design Studio (who designed the Roland Park Library addition) has taken full advantage of it.  The design makes the most of every inch of river frontage.  The restaurants, one of which is likely to be Donna’s, will have outdoor terraces above the Jones Falls. There’s a plan for an environmental classroom, to make use of the Falls as a teaching tool for school children.  Residents have prime water views from public areas, including the infinity pool, as well as from many of the apartments.  The river itself has been cleaned up and replanted for several hundred feet along the shoreline, with a $100,000 grant from Baltimore City  –part of an effort to improve the Jones Falls basin. A great blue heron makes his home here.

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Inside the factory, the industrial aesthetic as been nicely done and ‘locally sourced’. The old pine floors are polished, but scars and burns from factory equipment remain.  Huge wooden beams crisscross the ceilings, and many of the wooden surfaces — shelving, countertops and furniture – have been crafted from heavy building timbers. Local artisans were used whenever possible.  Each of the 84 apartments is a little different, because builders had to work around the iron support columns used in the factory. The quirkiness of the building includes some lovely architectural details  — like the extra-deep window sills throughout. Although the apartments are not large considering the scale of the building, they feel luxurious, with dark woods and high grade finishes. There is a large and beautiful third floor common room, with a kitchen, farm tables and television, for larger gatherings.  Currently the building is 60% leased and occupied, with tenants moving in ‘every day’.

Where: Mill No. 1 is on the west side of Falls Road, about a half mile south of Birroteca, across from the Mill Centre. There’s an entrance directly into the parking garage from Falls Road, and a driveway behind the building, accessed though a second entrance. A crosswalk across Falls Road will soon make it safer to take a stroll up Chestnut Street into Hampden.  You can hear the waterfall through the trees, but tempting as it is to get out and hike the river, there are no walking trails here. Bicycle’s sweep down Falls Road, though — residents  can and do bike to work downtown, and there’s also a trail entrance nearby at the Steiff Silver building on Wyman Park Drive. Your nearest grocery shopping here is at the 41st Street Giant, just 1. 2 miles away. The Avenue in Hampden is even closer.

Why: Historic charm. Industrial river valley makes for a unique setting. Not everyone wants to be in Canton.

Why Not: Parking has potential to be a problem. But you’ll have your free spot – why worry?

Would Suit: Young and fancy free – average age of the tenants is 34.

NB: Other than a great-looking sign on I83, Mill No. 1 is not doing much advertising. Information and photos are on their Facebook page.

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Polluted Stormwater Runoff to Blame for Milky, Fish-Killing Jones Falls

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It’s like a low-rent biblical plague. As if to put an exclamation point at the end of Tom Zolper’s recent post defending the stormwater fee and warning of the threat to the environment and public health posed by polluted storm runoff, the Jones Falls turned technicolor and killed around 200 fish, which floated, belly up, into the Inner Harbor. Oh, and it smelled of sulfur, you know, like Mephistopheles.

The “bacterial event” that deprived a section of the Jones Falls of dissolved oxygen and released sulfur from the bottom of the Falls can be traced ultimately to stormwater runoff, according to both Tina Meyers, Baltimore Harbor Waterkeeper, and Adam Lindquist, Healthy Harbor coordinator for the Waterfront Partnership. 

Baltimore Expands Its Bike Trails

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Work has begun to build a bike path that will run along the Jones Falls Trail from the Inner Harbor to Penn Station where it will hook up with an already extant trail that takes cyclists to Druid Hill Park and the Maryland Zoo. Not only that, but this new trail will complete Baltimore’s piece of the East Coast Greenway, an ambitious network of bike paths that run from Maine to Florida.

In a time when it’s hard to find a cultural development that doesn’t threaten to ruin our attention spans or harm the environment, moving a little closer to completing a bike trail that spans the Eastern seaboard strikes me as the quaintest form of progress. It’s almost Emersonian.

Maryland’s greenway coordinator, Greg Hinchliffe, is hoping the new car-free path will inspire bicyclists of all skill levels get out and ride, and even pave the way for a Baltimore Bike Share program.

The trail is scheduled to be completed around April 2013.

Baltimore Rhino Makes A Splash

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In case you haven’t noticed, there’s a thousand-pound rhino living on the rocky land beside the Jones Falls River. It is a beautiful gray creature, awesome, in the old-fashioned sense of the word, and flat out surreal, positioned amid an urban setting.

People are starting to discover the beast, as they hike, bike, make out or smoke up, near the bucolic stream. “Wait, is that a rhino?” one guy asked himself aloud; another woman snapped a photo with her cell and texted a message.

To be clear: The rhino isn’t real, but looks so from afar. Chad Tyler, 29, exhibit designer at the National Aquarium, placed it there this spring. The artist sculpted the piece from foam and concrete, over a period of patient weeks, setting up studio in a Ruxton barn. Fishbowl talked to Chad about his process and vision for the unique, eco-conscious project he calls, “There’s a Rhinoceros in the River.”

FB: So, how did you become inspired to build this rhino for Baltimore?
CT: The Rhino was born of an idea originally conceived in the car while driving back to Chicago with Jowita (yo-v-ta), my amazing fiancé. Ever since we were introduced to the lower Jones Falls River valley when we moved here ten months ago, I have been in love with it. I have always been drawn to these landscapes that almost don’t seem to fit into their context, that challenge your expectations of the natural environment, and where the intersection of the manmade and nature is so seamless and integrated. Think Northerly Island in Chicago, a former airstrip, famously bulldozed overnight at the bequest of Mayor Daley. The airstrips are piled on the edge of the island, rebar, concrete, and all. Some of the old concrete lighting foundations still exist, some of the taxi-ways can be found buried by the tall grasses grown through its cracked pavement. …To me, the Jones Falls River is so much more interesting because of all its layers. Because it is this living thing, moving about the concrete rubble strewn about its banks, banging against stone walls meant to contain it–[flowing] beside and through old mills that borrowed its water to operate, underneath bridges built high to avoid being swept away…and eventually 70-feet beneath an eight-lane highway that borrows the rivers fluid design. A river seemingly obscured from view and unknown to many. The intersection of culture, history, and industry is great inspiration to me.

Having spent a number of years designing exhibits and experiences built around animals, water, and conservation, I have come to think a lot about the question of why people visit zoos and aquarium to view these animals. What is about this facilitated experience of nature that brings audiences back, time and time again? Why are we so often wrapped up, in love, with the iconic and exotic animals from the other side of the globe? I found myself in the library looking at the history of Baltimore, the Jones Falls River and the industrial development on its banks. I began to connect an interesting chronological correlation between the foundation of the Baltimore Zoo and the expansion of the cotton mills after the Civil War. The mills’ rapid growth and increased demand on the river, the manipulation of its banks, the construction of higher bridges; a certain destruction or manipulation of nature, and in kind a newfound desire to view exotic nature through the lens of a zoo, was really interesting to me.

Wait, why a rhino?!
My original idea was to sculpt or replicate a number of the world’s iconic animals. The panda bear, the giraffe, the hippo, the moose, a congress of antelope, the zebra, the rhinoceros, etc. convening on the banks of the Jones Falls as if to discuss the state of things. With obvious limitations I [singled out] the rhinoceros, the third largest terrestrial mammal, a seemingly solitary creature, built strong and yet possessing a certain compassion in its eye, almost sympathetic. I love some of the myth behind the rhino: Supposedly [adept] at detecting a fire, it runs into the forest and heroically stomps it out — a guardian to its neighbors.

What was your sculptural process like?
I began the process of sculpting the rhinoceros by first making a scale model out of plasticine, an oil-based clay. I then translated the model to a giant block of expanded polystyrene foam also known as EPS foam in a good friend’s barn in Ruxton. I basically whittled the big block of foam with a 16-inch hand saw, referencing back to the model, until I got it right. Once the form was complete, I coated it in a custom mix of glass-fiber-reinforced concrete to seal it and to create the details, color and texture.

What was the project’s hardest challenge?
Definitely the process of transporting it to the river and installing it. Once I finished with the concrete, I split the whole thing into three separate pieces. With the help, in total, of 15 volunteers across three evenings, we managed to move the pieces to the site, down a root-strewn, rocky slope, down a five foot flood wall, and across a hundred feet of boulder and gravel-laced river wash!

What do you hope viewers take away?
First and foremost, my hope with this project is to draw a smile to the face of the passersby. My hope is that once this happens, they may [stop and] see something they haven’t noticed before. I hope the project might encourage some to think differently about the river and our relationship to it… I would love if it has the ability to encourage some of the viewers to become advocates or stewards of the watershed through involvement in cleaning and protecting the river with an organization like Blue Water Baltimore. Getting involved by joining a trash pick-up event, an invasive species clearing day, or maybe by marking the storm drains on your block can help protect the watershed and continue to build an enduring relationship with the river.

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