The idea for the garden grew out of fear that the Chesapeake Bay Trust would decline the Watershed Assistance Grant request for $75,000, from the school Parent Teacher Organization, for a major de-paving and greening of the Mount Royal Elementary/ Middle School yard on McMechen Street.
That declaration acts as a preface to BHCA’s new strategic plan for Bolton Hill, the first such document in 15 years, intended to guide the association in establishing priorities and interacting with city government and private interests. The 21-page plan was unanimously adopted by the BHCA board at its April Zoom meeting.
Bolton Hill was open land in the late 1700s, drained by streams that fed into the Jones Falls. One, Spicer’s Run, ran down from Reservoir Hill, emptying into the Falls just south of where the North Avenue bridge stands today.
“As a park, it’s an impertinence. Who ever heard of a park seven row houses wide, enclosed rather sketchily by low brick walls?” That is how Sara Azrael in 1958, writing for the Roland Park Company’s Gardens, Houses and People magazine, characterized the little Bolton Hill garden now known as John Street Park.
With a great burst of new year optimism, the BHCA Greening Committee is calling attention to a wide array of 2021 outdoor activities for neighborhood parks, along with a new map that pinpoints where each park is located.