City Looks To Revitalize Nearly 100-Year-Old Preston Gardens

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — For nearly 100 years, an often overlooked park has quietly occupied a piece of prime real estate downtown.

Now, WJZ’s Mike Schuh reports, the city has big plans.

The $7 million cost of the Preston Gardens renovation will be paid by city, state and federal dollars, as well as the Downtown Partnership and Mercy Medical Center.

When the gardens were built, back in the roaring 20’s, they were known as the “sunken gardens,” because they are built into a hill with its west wall holding up St. Paul Place.

A series of signature curving limestone stairs and cross streets punctuate the long, skinny rectangular footprint of the park.

Bisecting St. Paul Street near the courthouses, this space was conceived by renowned American park designer Frederick Olmstead Law.

Though the times have changed and buildings have grown larger around it, Preston Gardens hasn’t changed much. Until now.

The historic parts will be preserved, but the land around it is being reshaped. In part because more true parkland is needed, as thousands more people now live downtown. The Downtown Partnership envisions a more welcoming public space where city residents and visitors can picnic, relax and attend live events.

preson upper before and after

Preston before and after

preston lower before and after

The renovations are expected to begin soon.

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