Franklin Square is asking “What can we do about all these vacant lots?”

Franklin Square residents, volunteers, and Civic Works have been hard at work the last several months digging, planting and landscaping to improve a vacant lot on Carey Street, now known as the Blank Lot Project. Scott Kashnow with the Franklin Square Association shares the story–

Franklin Square Blank Lot Project, June 13 Work Day

It all started at a community meeting in July 2010 when someone said, “What can we do about all these vacant lots?” Brent Flickinger, city planner, said adopt one and clean it up. So we did! Actually we adopted three lots: 216, 220, & 224 North Carey Street. These three lots, plus two privately owned (218 & 222), are now the site of the Blank Lot project on Carey Street. We call it the blank lot because it is like a blank slate. It could be whatever we want it to be. We plan rename it later when we figure out what it is.

We organized our first workday on September 18 and cleaned the lot with 20 of our neighbors. Today, we have secured funding from both Parks & People and the Baltimore Community Foundation. We have planted 17 trees, placed granite stones as edging and steps, and planted “Sunflower Mountain.” In the months ahead, we plan to install a 50-foot wide wood chip pathway lined with granite benches, re-purpose the concrete pads in the back of the lot into whimsical hopscotch courts (an idea brainstormed by neighborhood children on the day of our first cleanup), and add planting beds and a rain garden. Civic Works assisted in our design and construction and have been instrumental in the process as we came up with creative ways to inexpensively address the unique issues of the lot.

We are already thinking about our next project. There are many vacant lots in Franklin Square and some of our neighbors are considering doing a mural on the houses adjacent to the Blank Lot. We have a couple of designs in mind. But first there is much work to do on this one…come join us! We will host workdays through the summer and fall and we will have a cookout after each workday.

Be sure to connect with the Franklin Square Community Association on Facebook and get in touch by e-mail at franklinsquarecommunity@gmail.com to learn more. Follow the Friends of West Baltimore Squares calendar for future volunteer workdays at the Blank Lot project and other area gardens.

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Are you working on a community garden, small park or vacant lot in a West Baltimore neighborhood? Share your story and we’ll highlight it here on our website and share any volunteer opportunities on our calendar.

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