Photo Tour of the New McKeldin Square in Downtown Baltimore

| June 22, 2017 | 0 Comments

Downtown Partnership of Baltimore has reopened McKeldin Square following a $4-million renovation. The triangular park sits between Light St. and Pratt St. adjacent to Downtown and the Inner Harbor. The park is named for Theodore McKeldin who served as Mayor of Baltimore from 1943-1947 and 1963-1967, and as Governor of Maryland from 1951-1959.

McKeldin Square’s new design is the result of an extensive public process to create a more open and adaptable space available for use all year-long, according to Downtown Partnership. Architecture firms involved in the project include Ayers Saint Gross, Land Collective, Mahan Rykiel, and Ziger Snead.

To accommodate the new design, a “deteriorating” concrete fountain that once occupied a majority of the park was removed. Materials from the old fountain were repurposed into architectural elements that frame the plaza, which now has three times the amount of public space. The new park also allows for better sight lines of Downtown and the Inner Harbor.

“McKeldin Square is the city’s front yard,” said Kirby Fowler, president of Downtown Partnership of Baltimore, in a press release. “This is where Baltimoreans come to celebrate holidays and watch parades. It’s the town square where civil and political opinions are expressed. This new design makes the space better for all of these activities. It’s placemaking on a human scale.”

To complete the renovation, a third of the funding came from private sector donations, a third came from Baltimore City, and a third came from the State of Maryland.

Fowler said at the grand opening today that this is Phase I of the project. Phase II will include more visual recognition to Governor McKeldin and Phase III will include a water feature. Downtown Partnership has envisioned realigning Light St. in the future so that McKeldin Square is connected to the Inner Harbor, but Fowler described that possibility as very expensive and many years away.

Members of the McKeldin family were present at the grand opening. They worked with Downtown Partnership during the project and were financial contributors. Governor McKeldin is credited with the vision that become the Inner Harbor as it is known now, and Downtown Partnership used the following quote by McKeldin as an inspiration for the design of the park:

“Envision with me … a new Inner Harbor area, where the imagination of man can take advantage of a rare gift of nature to produce an enthralling panorama of office buildings, parks, high-rise apartments, and marinas. In this, we have a special opportunity, for few other cities in the world have been blessed, as has ours, with such a potentially beautiful harbor area within the very heart of downtown … Too Visionary this? … Too dreamlike? … Certainly not.”

The following partners contributed to the project:

Downtown Partnership of Baltimore

Mayor Catherine Pugh & The City of Baltimore

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings Blake

Governor Lawrence J. Hogan & The State of Maryland

City Council President Bernard “Jack” Young

City Councilman Eric Costello

Maryland Dept. of Housing & Community Development

Waterfront Partnership of Baltimore

The McKeldin Family

Joseph & Harvey Meyerhoff Family Charitable Funds

T. Rowe Price

The Whiting-Turner Contracting Company

One East Pratt

Miles & Stockbridge

100 East Pratt

Harborplace/Ashkenazy Acquisition Corp.

Anonymous

Before shots courtesy of Google Maps

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