By Kathy Hudson
4:21 PM EDT, April 26, 2012
Three Roland Park-sponsored events fall together over the weekend of May 4. The annual Spring Celebration kicks off the community's hat-trick Friday at The Woman's Club of Roland Park, while the third Tunes @ the Tower and the fifth ciclovia happen Saturday, May 5.
So much to do. So much to do.
In past years the Spring Celebration took place the last weekend in April. It was scheduled then to coincide with the neighborhood showcase of dogwood blooms that became the community logo. This year dogwoods peeked before the end of April, but that is not why the celebration was moved. Pairing it with the Saturday family events make for a banner weekend.
The fifth ciclovia will, at last, extend beyond the boundaries of Roland Park. For years, bike enthusiasts have worked for a cross-town event. With the success of previous Roland Park ciclovias, in which more than 1,000 people have participated in each, Baltimore is moving closer to the bigger and more regular ciclovias found in New York, Michigan and California.
From noon until 4 p.m. Saturday, May 5, the groundbreaking spring ciclovia, "Park to Park," covers a three-mile course from Roland Park to Druid Hill Park. This car-free event will restrict vehicular traffic on southbound Roland Avenue and West University Parkway, Tudor Arms Avenue, Beech Avenue and Wyman Park Drive. Bikers, skaters and walkers will have the roads to themselves.
A lot will happen along the way. Bike safety rodeos for children will take place in various locations, as well as tune-up stations and instructions on bike safety. Hopefully, some food and drink stations will dot the route, similar to past stands at Eddie's of Roland Park and at St. David's Church.
Three miles is a long way to go without refreshment.
Tunes @ the Tower from noon to 3 p.m. will provide a festive rest at the Roland Water Tower, where a bike-decorating workshop for children will be held, accompanied by the music of E. Joseph and the Phantom Hearts, Eric Rose and his all-star band, and neighborhood resident Ken Winkler. Music continues through the afternoon, with a variety of cuisine provided by the local Indian gourmet restaurant Verandah, South Carolina BBQ and Dirty Carrots Vegan Restaurant.
With the Maryland legislature having approved a $250,000 bond bill to repair and preserve the Roland Water Tower, I hope that at this event, city and community leaders will announce a plan in which Greater Roland Park can lease the historic tower. The tower is considered surplus property for the city, with no value other than the parcel of land on which it sits. Roland Park and surrounding communities hope to refurbish the tower and turn the space below into a user-friendly park and community gathering space.
Having had two recent conversations with Justin Martin, author of Genius of Place, the Life of Frederick Law Olmsted, I feel more strongly than ever about the ongoing importance of small parks, and large, throughout the city.
Not to be overlooked on the docket of weekend festivities is the sponsorship of the "Park to Park" ciclovia by Keswick Multicare Center, the Roland Park Civic League and BMore Streets for People.
Four years ago, Keswick announced plans to develop land that the Baltimore Country Club planned to sell at its Roland Park location. Tension ran high in the community, to say the least. The longtime good relationship between Keswick and Roland Park was strained. Over time, thanks to the leadership of both organizations, that relationship is back on track. To me, this sponsorship and the quality tree-planting and landscaping efforts at Keswick speak volumes.
May the weekend be rain-free, so that the beauty of city neighborhoods and of Roland Park, Wyman Park and Druid Hill Park, can be fully enjoyed.