Bon Secours Community Works (BSCW) works to enrich West Baltimore communities with programs and services that contribute to the long-term economic and social viability of neighborhoods. Nature Sacred partnered with Bon Secours Community Works to help bring a community vision for Unity Park to life.
In 2017. housing developer Unity Properties began engaging their residents around the vacant, dumping ground at 2 N. Fulton Avenue located a half block north of 158 units of Bon Secours Family Apartments on West Baltimore Street, and a half block south of Bon Secours Community Works’ Family Support Center, a building that serves close to 4,000 residents annually with programs in child development, career placement, and financial education.. They discovered community members had three major needs: safe and aesthetically pleasing place to rest and relax; a safe place for children to play and families to gather; and a free water recreation space. Firesoul Shakira Franklin’s insight that opening fire hydrants in the summer heat is a quintessential urban American tradition, but that those days are long gone for community residents, was key to the concept of a splash park. This space will provide cooling respite during summer heat waves, a place for children to play, and socialization or break opportunities to parents – a key necessity especially for families who may have barriers to accessing public pools.
The current 8,200-square-foot (SF) vacant lot will be turned into a combined playground, interactive fountain, and a natural place of respite – Sacred Place. The “active area” of the park, which will contain the fountain and playground, will be located on the sunny western side of the site. The Sacred Place will be located to the east under existing shade trees. Each of these areas and features will be connected by a network of beautiful ground cover, always in bloom plantings, and seating for various group sizes. All this will provide a rich sensory experience for developing children and adults.