Public meetings for Patterson Park input canceled

A series of public meetings for Baltimore residents to voice their concerns about preliminary plans to add more parking and an access road to Patterson Park have been canceled, according to city officials.

The decision comes two days after the first meeting had city officials deflecting heated questions from a crowd of hundreds who oppose the plan, and one day after Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake announced the creation of a working group that will study the matter and the park's future.

Councilman James Kraft, who has taken the lead in denouncing the city plan — under the rallying cry "No more cars, no more parking, no more paving" — said Rawlings-Blake canceled the meetings, and saved everybody time in doing so.

"The impression that I got in my conversations with the administration was that there was really no need on their part to come to any more meetings," Kraft said. "After having made the presentation on Monday night with close to 500 people there, they clearly got how the community felt."

Ryan O'Doherty, a Rawlings-Blake spokesman, said Kraft suggested the meetings be postponed "until the Master Plan Working Group has a chance to develop new strategies for enhancing green space, increasing traffic safety and recreational opportunities for all city residents who enjoy Patterson Park, including senior citizens."

Kraft said he has suggested the working group include representatives from community groups, "at-large" residents and representatives from the offices of Rawlings-Blake and City Council President Bernard C. "Jack" Young.

He said he hopes for the group members and the date of their first meeting to be announced by the end of the month.

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