A major point of opposition voiced by residents in the Lake Roland area regarding the Bluestem development is concerned with the multi-use housing project’s impact on the park. While construction will be adjacent to the park, it by no means will affect the park’s interior. The developers and designers of Bluestem aim only to benefit the park by building around it, not in it, and by focusing on increasing the accessibility, functionally and environmental integrity of the park and lake.
Around the Park, Not In It
Construction of the multi-use development will specifically focus on the boundaries adjacent to Lake Roland Park. Specifically, there will be no construction existing within the boundaries of the park, and no roads constructed within park limits. The Bluestem development project places thoughtful consideration on development that is friendly to the park, including native plantings and convenient access to the park through more functional and accessible park borders.
The Bluestem team understands the oftentimes negative connotation associated with the term “development,” and this is why the team has gone to such great lengths to ensure that the Bluestem development will not follow in the footsteps of traditional developers. Bluestem has, in fact, spent an extensive amount of time communicating with community leaders, working with local area specialists and thoughtfully planning the mixed-use project so that it will serve as a wonderful new benefit to the community. The plans for the Bluestem project have changed, not once, or even twice, but four full times before the Bluestem team was satisfied that it would meet the needs and address the concerns of the Bare Hills community and Baltimore County public at large.
Bluestem is also committed to enhancing Lake Roland park itself, not by development within it, but by development surrounding it that will contribute to accessibility and the health of the park. This will happen in myriad ways, including increased parking, safer access points, enhanced access to the “Orange” trail and more. In addition, the Bluestem team is committed to preserving the environmental integrity of the park. This is seen in many ways, but a significant example is the team’s decision to move the development closer to Falls Road, instead of further towards the back of the property, which abuts the wooded regions of the park. This will allow for a larger forested buffer in between the development and the park, which will greatly enhance the ability for stormwater to be effectively managed; limit noise pollution and disruption within the park; protect unique landscapes, such as the serpentine barren, and ensure park-goers can enjoy the beauty that Lake Roland offers undisturbed.
Increase Park Usage
In addition, the development of multi-use property in the Lake Roland area will only work to increase the functionality and accessibility of the park. Currently, Lake Roland’s significant increase in park-goers in the last decade has placed an expanded strain on the limited parking space offered in Lake Roland and surrounding areas. In addition, park-goers who currently park on Falls Road to access the Red trail, often find themselves in a dangerous situation when parking just before a sharp curve located on the busy roadway. The development team at Bluestem has planned construction mindfully as to increase the accessibility of the park with the addition of useful parking and trail connections, such as improved access to the park’s Orange trail via a gate constructed at the back-end of the Bluestem property.
While it is true that the new access point will connect to a trail that runs through the serpentine barrens within the park, the Bluestem team has already come up with creative and environmentally friendly ways to ensure this habitat is undisturbed. By teaming up with Human & Rohde—who were integral in the development of the environmentally-sensitive boardwalk through the wetland areas—as well as Plusen Landscape Architects, the Lake Roland Nature Council and others, the Bluestem team is putting into effect plans for another boardwalk-like structure, as well as signage informing community members about the sensitive nature of the serpentine barrens, in order to empower the community to act as stewards of the park and limit intrusion into fragile areas.
Work in Harmony with Environment
The Bluestem development team upholds their environmentally-conscious approach to building in harmony with the surrounding ecosystem. That is why the development of multi-use housing has been planned as to create minimal disturbance to the environment and with mindfulness to improve both human and local traffic. The development project will only improve the surrounding landscape and environmental structure of the area—construction of Bluestem will eliminate an outdated mulch tumbler system located on a watershed site that has persistently wreaked havoc on Lake Roland’s delicate ecosystem. The objective of Bluestem, to promote conservation through re-development of the area surrounding the park, will ultimately best serve the park and the community through modern, updated waste management systems without impeding on park boundaries or the park’s unique ecosystem.
Bluestem Development is Mindful of the Community
The developers and designers of Bluestem aim for the construction of multi-use spaces to be community focused, environmentally friendly, innovatively designed and locally developed. That is why the development of the property surrounding Lake Roland will seek to enhance green space, ease traffic, promote safer parking space and provide more convenient access to the beauty of Lake Roland while protecting the integrity of the park.