Milestones

Updating the Reservoir Hill tree map

2009-2014 Reservoir Hill tree map (6/26/14)

2009-2014 Reservoir Hill tree map (6/26/14)

In August 2013 we published the first-ever Reservoir Hill tree map, which represented our best attempt to record the correct location and species for every tree planted (approximately 333 trees) up to that date. Since then, we've continued to improve our methods for collecting data, and we've also tried to update all the trees planted in 2013 (approximately 69 trees) and 2014 (68 so far).

Were you wondering where all those trees are?

Here's a map showing just the 2013 (in yellow) and 2014 tree locations (in blue):

2013 and 2014 trees

2013 and 2014 trees

We're very excited that our current inventory of 476 trees planted means we'll soon be reaching 500 new trees planted (50% toward our goal of 1,000 new trees). The challenge however, is that while many of the the 2009-2013 trees were planted in locations specifically requested (and subsequently adopted) by residents, the 2014 trees were all planted in April-May 2014 by Baltimore City without communicating with residents. We have been fortunate that spring 2014 has brought us lots of rain, so many of the 2014 trees are doing OK so far. But summer is now here, and to maintain our neighborhood goal of 95% survival rate, we'll need to connect these trees to nearby residents.

Here's an example of a 2014 tree in need of a good home (or just a friend with a hose):

2014 tree near the intersection of Park Avenue and Whitelock Street (6/16/14)

2014 tree near the intersection of Park Avenue and Whitelock Street (6/16/14)

We are also currently working to get the City and its contractors to take responsibility for assisting with the maintenance these trees. In the meantime, if you've noticed there is a new tree near your house and you are interested in watering it with at least 10 gallons a week,  contact Teddy Krolik (tkrolik@reservoirhill.net) so we can provide you with tree care instructions and materials (including a gator bag for slow-drip watering)!

Again, here's the map of all 2014 tree locations:

2014 trees 

2014 trees 

When a park actually starts to look like a park

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2013-10-28 12.38.20

The view from the top of Whitelock St. and Brookfield Ave. (10/29/13)

For a long time we've been talking about all the things that we still needed to accomplish on the Whitelock "South Lots/Community Park" site: grading, laying pathways, installing seating, etc. We've now reached the point where we're not just talking about what has to happen, but actually doing them! And for the first time ever, you can see the outlines of where the lawn will go, how tall the berm might be, and what the new bus stop corner lounge could look like.

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2013.10.15

[Grading the site (10/15/13)

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2013.10.18

Of course, that doesn't mean we're done with our seemingly never-ending quest to recycle every piece of granite and brick we found buried on the site. Our plan is to build seat benches and edging out of the salvaged materials over the next few weeks. Come join us every Saturday morning from now through the end of November!

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2013-10-26 11.40.14

Volunteers sifting through the rubble (10/26/13)

And don't forget: if you'd like to keep up with all the up-to-the-minute  developments on Whitelock St. and beyond, check out our Instagram @rhicgreen!

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Screen Shot 2013-10-29 at 4.40.44 PM

John Eager Howard School Design

BCPS school design  copy

Map reflecting BCPS' 10-year plan for JEH and surrounding schools

Last winter, 3,000 Baltimore City parents, students, teachers, and neighbors stood together in Annapolis demanding better school buildings for our children. John Eager Howard, working with Child First Authority and RHIC, brought 80 people--the third highest turnout from across the city--for the February Rally.

Baltimore City Public School buildings were facing a $2.4 billion deficit, with 85% of public schools in poor condition-- John Eager Howard alone was assessed at needing $14-16 million in renovation and repair costs. In April, the Baltimore Education Coalition and Transform Baltimore's hard work paid off when the state approved the $1 billion school construction bill.  The Baltimore Education Coalition is a city-wide grassroots partnership of over 25 organizations, including RHIC, Child First Authority, ACLU, united by a mission and vision for public education in Baltimore City. Over the past three years, these groups have prioritized city school construction funding and worked to bring a plan to fruition for Baltimore City.

This school construction bill will fund the first 5 years of BCPS' 10 year plan to fully renovate and rebuild all Baltimore City schools. Within BCPS 10 year plan, JEH is set for a "Year 1 Renovation with Possible Addition or Replace". More information about the recommendation, as well as the initial study of the buildings' current state can be found here (scroll down the alphabetized list of city schools until you reach "John Eager Howard Elementary School").

What has happened since the legislature approved our bill?

Over the course of Spring and Summer 2013, BCPS has worked to determine the "educational specifications", the basic requirements all renovated and newly constructed school buildings should have to support 21st-century education. At various points throughout this process students, teachers, parents, and neighbors from John Eager Howard gave feedback on the specifications.

What comes next for John Eager Howard? 

John Eager Howard is working closely with the entire school community, it's partners and BCPS in order to ensure an inclusive design process that genuinely reflects the community's values.

Though the below timeline is likely to shift at points due to the complexity of this process, this is the general schedule BCPS has set for Year 1 schools:

This fall, a team from the school community will be working closely with architects, and gathering further feedback from the broader community, in order to determine the school level educational specifications for JEH. We are committed to modeling a community engagement process, which can be utilized in other neighborhoods and schools, and ensures broad and deep engagement of the broader school community. Additionally, the architects will be conducting a feasibility study, which will re-evaluate and narrow the $14-16 million need estimated in the Jacobs Report. This feasibility study will determine whether JEH receives a renovation or a complete rebuild.

From Jan 2014 - Dec 2014,  the school will follow the work this fall by a year of an intensive design lead by parents, teachers, neighbors, and students with broad based and deep participation from the school community.

April 2015, we hope to see shovels in the ground on a 21st-century John Eager Howard building!

If you have any questions, please contact Erin Bowman: ebowman@reservoirhill.net, 410-225-7547

German Park playground like you've never seen it before

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German Park, located at the corner of Whitelock St. and Linden Ave. (8/22/12)

The most common story you hear about German Park when you talk with long-time residents has always been: "I grew up playing on German Park...and I have the scars to prove it!"

The next generation of Reservoir Hill kids will have to come up with another story.  Because in summer 2001 neighbors built a community-designed playground and most recently, in fall 2012, neighbors transformed the rest of what was once a concrete oasis into an actual grass lawn. So, not only will German Park now have a place for rainwater to absorb, but families will have a place for movie nights, ball games, and all the other activities that grass makes a whole lot better.

Thanks to our partners: Healthy Neighborhoods, Beth Am, Baltimore City Department of Housing & Community Development, Baltimore Ravens, Blue Water Baltimore, and Abell Foundation!

8/22/12:

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8/23/12:

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9/14/12:

German Park Lawn Underway - 9
German Park Lawn Underway - 9

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Voices on the Verge: Reservoir Hill

[vimeo http://www.vimeo.com/38069047 w=400&h=300]

ANNOUNCING

VOICES ON THE VERGE: RESERVOIR HILL ORAL HISTORY PROJECT

Reservoir Hill featured in international forum for progressive urban ideas

Reservoir Hill Improvement Council (RHIC) and Massachusetts Institute of Technology Community Innovators Lab (CoLab) are proud to announce the launch of “Voices on the Verge: Reservoir Hill.” This original series of oral histories features audio recordings, pictures, and text to explore the personal relationship of Reservoir Hill residents to their neighborhood.

[vimeo http://www.vimeo.com/37697494 w=400&h=300]

Reservoir Hill confronts the challenges of urban life, from abandoned commercial areas and food insecurity to real estate speculation and underserved youth, with a community-based organizing approach that creates innovative, resident-led solutions. The spoken narratives in “Voices on the Verge” present the actual words, rhythms, and feelings of Reservoir Hill neighbors, including long-time community activists, urban farmers, community artists, inspired young people, and community members seeking redemption.

[vimeo http://www.vimeo.com/37684638 w=400&h=300]

CoLab will feature “Voices on the Verge” at this permanent URL:  http://colabradio.mit.edu/category/reservoir-hill

[vimeo http://www.vimeo.com/37698581 w=400&h=300]

CoLab founded CoLab Radio in 2009 to encourage the open sharing of ideas that serve a better future for all communities. CoLab Radio is a city and regional planning publication where people who are doing the daily work of improving communities can document their projects and express their ideas.

[vimeo http://www.vimeo.com/37764497 w=400&h=300]

Good news Thursday

07 14 11 scanned front page
07 14 11 scanned front page

Front page of The Baltimore Sun (7/14/11)

07 14 11 second page scan
07 14 11 second page scan

Continuation of article on p. 10 (7/14/11)

It's not everyday that you wake up to your neighborhood on the front page of the newspaper for something positive! We'd like to thank Tim Wheeler and The Baltimore Sun for producing such a thoughtful story about the inspiration, process, and results that drive our greening work.

But that's not all... we also received in the mail this beautiful poster from the folks at Kaboom! to remind everyone of last month's terrific playground build day:

Baltimore Post Build Collage JPEG
Baltimore Post Build Collage JPEG

And, finally, we're excited to announce the official launch of rhicgreen.org! For those of you who have been with us from the start, thank you for your comments, insights, and patience. For those just joining us, welcome to the 21217.

07 15 11 RHIC Green Launch flyer JPEG Hi Res
07 15 11 RHIC Green Launch flyer JPEG Hi Res

300 volunteers build German Park playground in one day

http://blogs.baltimoreravens.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/16_Kaboom_news.jpg

(Photo credit: Baltimore Ravens)

If Haloti Ngata and Ray Lewis had been there, we wouldn't have needed so many people to build our playground. But the NFL lockout prohibits teams from contacting players, so we needed all 300 volunteers!

Alan pre playground picture
Alan pre playground picture

3/18/11 4pm

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6/6/11 11am

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6/13/11 11am

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6/13/11 1:30pm

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6/16/11 10am

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6/16/11 2pm

6/16/11 6pm