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Paradise Lost? Pipeline Threatens Hundreds Of Trees At Leakin Park

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Christie Ileto 370 x 278 Christie Ileto
Christie Ileto joined WJZ's News Team in the fall of 2012. She...
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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The city’s largest park could soon have fewer trees.

Christie Ileto explains BGE plans to replace an aging gas pipeline in Gwynns Falls Leakin Park.

The pipeline is part of a 16 mile line that runs from west Baltimore County to South Baltimore. Two miles of it needs to be replaced, but it could mean uprooting hundreds of century old trees.

Towering trees and lush canopies fill Leakin Park. But Jo Orser says that could soon be a thing of the past.

“This is a very much a natural habitat,” said Orser.

BGE plans to cut two miles of wooded space through the park to replace an aging pipeline that serves 90,000 customers.

“We look at pieces of our equipment that need to be upgraded or maintained,” said Rachael Lighty, BGE. “There may be trees that need to be cleared for this new pipeline. However, we will be replacing trees where the existing pipeline is as well.”

And for safety reasons, crews can’t work too close to the existing pipeline that runs next to a stream. But BGE says, right now, no specific route has been decided.

“There are several proposed routes. One does go through the park. One goes along the outside edge of the park,” Lighty said.

“We’re very upset. And it does impact us because we try to save every tree we can,” a concerned resident said.

Some residents are hoping the proposed line could instead be on the outskirts of the park, where it would essentially take out fewer trees.

“Yeah, just off the edge. There’s about 20 feet here,” said George Farrant.

BGE says they’re still looking for the best place for that pipeline, but park advocates are just hoping hundreds of trees won’t fall casualty in the process.

Work has already started on a portion of the pipeline near I-70 and Security Boulevard.

BGE confirms they’re meeting with residents and members of Friends of Gwynns Falls Friday to discuss potential routes for the pipeline.

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