PRO-BONO PROJECT

Bolton Hill Community Association is currently accepting donations to support renovations of the park.

LEARN MORE HERE

The Why

As design professionals, we believe that the environment matters, places matter, people matter, and stories matter. Stories have the power to change the world, starting with the internal monologue within ourselves. Stories deepen the human experience and offer understanding of places that are, and are not, our own. As influencers of the future and students of the past, we must acknowledge that not all people have equal access to design resources. We must also acknowledge that design has historically been used to disempower and displace communities, especially communities of color. We must use this knowledge in regard to the power of design to create spaces that mindfully speak to everything that we are and all that we want to become.  

Our DCMDVA chapter assembled a volunteer team of designers to support and strengthen our local communities through design.    

Project History

The project began with a simple phone call to the Neighborhood Design Center (NDC) - a Baltimore City and Prince George’s County based Social Impact Design Non-profit that partners with community leaders to envision better parks, public spaces, streetscapes, and more - from Chapter Public Relations Director, Kelley Oklesson, who previously worked at the NDC for 7 years and knew that this non-profit has their finger on the pulse of their local communities. NDC offers pro bono conceptual design assistance to community-initiated projects related to the built environment by assembling teams of volunteer design professionals through their Community Design Works program. NDC matched our group with the Bolton Hill Community Association in Baltimore who were hoping to renovate the Contee-Parago Triangle Park in time for its 50th anniversary in May, 2021.  

Site History

The Contee-Parago Triangle Park is an entry point to the Bolton Hill neighborhood, a designated historic district, located at the corner of Dolphin and Bolton streets. The site had been cleared during urban renewal in the 1960s.  A group of Bolton Hill neighbors organized to build a park on the site in the wake of tense years immediately following the 1968 riots and decided to name it after Edward William Parago, Sr. (1898-1983), and William Gailes Contee (1891-1987).

Edward William Parago, Sr. (1898-1983), and William Gailes Contee (1891-1987).

Parago and Contee were two of the earliest Black homeowners in Bolton Hill, having purchased their homes on Dolphin Lane in the early 20th century. The community believes Contee-Parago Triangle Park is the first Baltimore park to be named after Black residents and after living people.

A plaque in the park reads:

"Dedicated to the spirit of neighborliness exemplified by William Gailes Contee and Edward Wilson Parago, May 1971" (Baltimore Sun Article)

Read more on the community history website

For many years Mr. Contee turned on the fountain for neighborhood children to play in during the summer. Today the park serves as a gathering place and social space, or a meditative retreat for local residents, as well as a place for nearby office workers to enjoy a quiet lunch.

The park was designed with intersecting paved elliptical and circular areas framed by curved brick border walls. It contains a circulating fountain, several benches, a large central planting bed, and five magnificent mature Willow Oaks that provide Spring and Fall color and abundant shade.  

Design Process

The goals of the redesign as defined by the community are to preserve tree health, increase visibility, emphasize historic features, and have a positive environmental impact by reducing stormwater runoff and creating habitat for urban wildlife.

The design process has two major phases.

Phase 1:  Conceptual Site Design.

This phase was managed and supported by the Neighborhood Design Center. Click here to hear about their services.

An onsite and virtual kickoff meeting with the volunteer Design Team and community representatives was held in conjunction with an initial site analysis with this Existing Conditions PDF.

The volunteer Design Team then focused on developing creative schematic design concepts/ideas and a preliminary planting plan.

Creative schematic design concepts/ideas

Contee Pargo Concept Plan Permiter Plantings

Contee Pargo Concept Plan Perimeter Plantings

Design presentation boards were finalized and presented to the community for feedback on August 29, 2020. A finalized site plan including concept updates to infrastructure as well as plantings was shared with the community on October 14th, 2020.

Phase 2:  Design Refinement and Implementation.

The Design Team continues to work with the community to make refinements to the concept plan discussed during phase 1.

Pool and Fountain specialists are collaborating on developing a site specific design to update the existing fountain. Solicitation of financial support and donations of materials, expertise, and time continues.  Installation of hardscape, ironwork, signage, fountain, lighting, and benches is to be completed by March of 2021.

Planting to begin in April 2021.  On May 17, 2021, there will be a 50th anniversary rededication and celebration of the Contee-Parago Triangle Park.

The People

Volunteer Team

APLD Chapter Public Relations Director:  Kelley Oklesson

Linda Carney
Roger Clapp
Julie Friedman
Eric Gilbey
Sara Jensen
Tony Kostreski
Michelle Mrdeza
Lynley Ogilvie
Edy Osorio
Maureen Robinson
Molly Scott
Karen Weaver
Drew Asbury

Community Partners

Katryna Carter kcarter@ndc-md.org

Jean Lee Cole jeanleecole@gmail.com

Nan Rohrer nanr@midtowncommunity.org

Elliot Weidow elliotw@midtowncommunity.org

Midtown Benefits District
https://www.midtownbaltimore.org/benefits-district

Project Sponsors

Project Timeline

  • CREATION OF THE PARK

    The 1200 Block Bolton Street Improvement Association met with the City’s Housing and Community Development Department to discuss plans for the cleared site to be developed as a park. Learn more.

  • Edward William Parago, Sr. (1898-1983), and William Gailes Contee (1891-1987).

    PARK DEDICATION

    The new park is dedicated to William Gailes Contee and Edward Wilson Parago, Sr., two of the earliest Black homeowners in Bolton Hill, having purchased their homes on Dolphin Lane in the early 20th century.

     

  • RENOVATION REQUEST

    The Friends of Contee-Parago Park applied for and received a Community Design Works grant from NDC for help renovating the park for its 50th anniversary.

  • PRO BONO PROJECT SEARCH

    DC/MD/VA APLD Chapter contacts the NDC for information on community projects in need of Landscape Design assistance.

  • PAIRED UP

    DC/MD/VA APLD Chapter gets paired up with the Bolton Hill Neighborhood Association to help with the revitalization of Contee-Parago Triangle Park.

  • Contee Parago Triangle Park tree Kick off meeting

    KICK OFF MEETING

    Onsite project kick off meeting with the volunteer Design Team and community representatives at the park.

  • TASKS ASSESSED AND ASSIGNED

    Virtual Design Team meeting where basic committees are formed and tasks divided.

  • Contee Pargo Concept Plan Permiter Plantings

    INTERNAL PRESENTATION

    Virtual Internal concept idea and preliminary planting plan presentation with Design Team (meeting recorded).

  • CONTRACTOR SITE MEETING

    APLD Contractor Site Meeting for general pricing assistance and review of existing infrastructure integrity/condition.

    Video Recap.

  • Community Feedback Panel

    COMMUNITY DESIGN REVIEW

    Both an in-person and virtual presentation were held for community feedback on the Design Team’s proposed concept plan. (link to design boards)The design team received comments from the neighborhood about the design. Lots of neighbors were able to join us at the site to look over the plans. Those who couldn’t be there in person were able to comment online.

    Final conceptual design based on the community’s feedback.

  • GRANT RECEIVED

    Baltimore Environmental Equity Partnership (BEEP) received a National Fish and Wildlife Foundation grant for Pavement Removal 

    Neighborhood Design Center (NDC) and the Bolton Hill Community Association oversee design and phase 1 of a park revitalization plan, which includes BWB hand-depaving a concrete pad surrounding several mature trees.  Work to occur between January 1, 2021 – May 31, 2021

  • GRANT APPLIED

    Preservation Maryland grant for Interpretive Signage

    APLD DCMDVA assisted in pulling materials together for a $5000 Baltimore City Historic Preservation grant from Preservation Maryland to support interpretive signage at the park.

  • Concept Planting Plan Contee Parago Triangle Park

    DETAILED PLANTING PLAN COMPLETE

    APLD DCMDVA finalized the detailed planting plan for Contee Parago Triangle Park.  The plan incorporated native plants as well as tried and true plants for tough environments such as dry shade.  The plan was shared on padlet as well the Native Plants facebook page which received positive reviews from both communities.

  • contee parago water fountain sketch

    FOUNTAIN REDESIGN BEGINS

    Bolton Hill Community Association is partnering with Doug Clarke from Fountain Logix to design a low maintenance fountain design for Contee Parago Park.

  • GRANT APPLIED

    Garden Clubs of America Grant Application

    The Bolton Hill Community Association applied for a $1000 Garden Clubs of America Grant to support the implementation of the planting plan.

  • GRANT RECEIVED

    Baltimore Heritage Micro-grant Received

    Bolton Hill Community Association was awarded a $500 Baltimore Heritage micro-grant to preserve and relocate the original brass park sign.

  • GRANT APPLIED

    Baltimore National Heritage Area Small Capital Grant Application

    The Bolton Hill Community Association applied for a BNHA grant for $15k (with a 1:1 match) to support the replacement of the fountain and other infrastructural improvements.

  • PLANTING PARTY

    Volunteers came out to the park to implement the Western portion of the planting plan.  Midtown Community Benefits District supplied the tools, mulch, and ~100 tulip bulbs for the planting event. Midtown CBD also connected the Bolton Hill Neighborhood with a wholesale plant supplier for the gorgeous, high-quality plant materials. 20 Shrubs, 20 Perennials, Hundreds of bulbs. [PHOTOS]

  • IN-KIND TREE WORK

    Savatree will be donating a day of tree care services for the project.

  • GRANT APPLIED

    Baltimore National Heritage Area Neighborhood Placemaking Grant for tree work and signage. ($5000)

  • INFRASTRUCTURE WORK

    Items include:

    • Pavement Removal
    • Masonry: Brick Entry Piers and Stone Wall Caps
    • Interpretive Signage
    • Historic Plaque Signage
    • Lighting
    • Boulder Fountain
    • Benches

  • REDEDICATION AND CELEBRATION

    Ribbon Cutting for the newly renovated Contee-Parago Triangle Park on its 50th anniversary.

May 1969May 1971October 2019December 2019February 2020May 6, 2020June 26, 2020July 24, 2020August 2020August 29, 2020September 25, 2020October 8, 2020October 14, 2020October 19, 2020October 16, 2020October 29, 2020November 4, 2020November 15, 2020November 25, 2020December 11, 2020January/February/March, 2021 April, 2021May 17th, 2021