The state has awarded Baltimore City a grant of $600,000 to improve and fill in the gaps in the Stony Run stream walking path that runs roughly between Roland Park and Wyman Park.
The Maryland Board of Public Works last week approved the Program Open Space grant to the city Department of Recreation and Parks. The goal is to make the continuous 3-mile Stony Run path safer and more accessible by creating crossings at major streets across the stream, constructing some new path segments and stabilizing eroded areas along the path to ensure safety and minimize storm-water runoff, according to a press release by the state Department of Natural Resources, which oversees Program Open Space
It's part of a broader effort by Friends of Stony Run, in conjunction with community groups in Roland Park and Tuscany-Canterbury, to improve the walking path between Gilman School and the Stieff Silver building and ultimately to connect it to the 7.75-mile Jones Falls Trail.
The stream is a tributary of the Jones Falls that flows into the Inner Harbor and the Chesapeake Bay.
Supporters hope to raise as much as $1.6 million, said Amy Bonitz, a member of the Roland Park Civic League, which is pushing for Stony Run improvements in accordance with the city-approved Greater Roland Park Master Plan.
The Roland Park Civic League and Roland Park Community Foundation have launched an open space fundraising campaign, and part of the money raised will be earmarked for the Stony Run path, Bonitz said.
The $600,000 grant is enough for phase one of the project, while fundraising for the remaining $1 million continues, Bonitz said.
"I think it's going to probably be a 10-year effort for the whole shebang," Bonitz said. The first phase would include construction of pedestrian crossings over the stream at major streets including Wyndhurst Avenue and West Cold Spring Lane, creating new segments of the path where none exist, including at Wyndhurst Station and Bolton Street Synagogue, building a new pedestrian bridge at Linkwood and Stoneyford roads, and replacing a beat-up bridge at Ridgemeade Road and the stream.
Friends of Stony Run was formed in 2011 by residents of Tuscany-Canterbury, Charles Village and Remington, to create a walking path along the former right of way of the Ma and Pa Railroad, which once ran between Baltimore and York, Pa., according to the Tuscany-Canterbury Neighborhood Association's website.
Friends of Stony Run now serves as an umbrella group for what used to be separate but parallel efforts in Tuscany-Canterbury and Roland Park to improve the northern and southern legs of the Stony Run, north and south of Overhill Road, said Anne Perkins, of Tuscany-Canterbury, who serves on the board of the Friends group. Its purpose is to "oversee all of what's going on," Perkins said.
Perkins stressed that the group is not trying to alter the nature of the path.
"It's not that we're trying to change it," she said. "We want it to be a woodland path that's continuous, and fill in the blanks."
For example, the path ends at Ridgemeade Road and picks up again south of University Parkway, in Wyman Park, a gap of between a quarter and a half mile, Perkins said.
Bonitz emailed the Messenger a "working document" for the project that highlights its importance a "green" Main Street that links a dozen historic neighborhoods, schools and universities, commercial districts and parks.
The $600,000 grant application was well received by the state Department of Natural Resources, which considered the Stony Run project a prime candidate for funding, said Steve Carr, land trails planner for DNR.
"It's a good project," Carr said, citing widespread support by north Baltimore communities in an area with several major institutions, including Johns Hopkins University's Homewood campus.
And Carr said the project helps resolve lingering issues such as the dangers of crossing busy Cold Spring Lane.
"With a project like this, it rings all the bells," he said.