The rules are as follows:
(1) The park is usable dusk to dawn.
(2) Please DO NOT LITTER.
(3) Take all personal items (e.g., chairs, tables, etc.) with you upon leaving the park.
(4) Be respectful of others' use and enjoyment of the park.
(5) Alcoholic beverages prohibited.
(6) Dogs must be leashed.
(7) Owners must clean up behind their dogs.
(8) Unauthorized motor vehicles prohibited.
(9) Open fires, fireworks & firearms prohibited.
HELP KEEP OUR PARK CLEAN
VIOLATORS MAY BE PROSECUTED
History & Design Rationale
The story of Powhatan Park begins in 2007 with the Powhatan Farms Improvement Association (PFIA) asking NeighborSpace to subdivide and purchase a 1.6-acre parcel of land for a park with ... "flowers, and an area that would allow our community to have cookouts and possibly hold our monthly community meetings during the good weather months.” Using $120,000 in open space waiver fees that come to NeighborSpace via a County ordinance, the organization successfully completed the subdivision and purchase in 2009. But, as we shall see, that turned out to be the easy part.
Then came the rains of the summer of 2018. NeighborSpace constructed a rain garden (see above), several vegetated swales, and a dry well to control sheetflow runoff where two roads abut the site. They were completely overwhelmed by the water and the overflow channeled across the site, wiping out the walking trail, shown below, in two places. The contractors were shocked. A hundred-year storm is one thing, but the volume of water coming off the roads onto the site was extreme nearly every time there was a strong thunderstorm, wiping out the gravel pathway in several places, as shown below.
Eric then decided to research the history of the drainage system. He went back to drawings from the 1950s and, ultimately, concluded that the drainage pipe that should have run under the park to connect the storm sewers at the end of Norvo and Robin Hill Roads to the system on the other side of the park was never installed, as illustrated in the drawing below. This explained why water rushing down Robin Hill Road would hit the storm sewer and immediately fly up and out, flooding the park.
This revelation occurred in May 2018. When NeighborSpace and the PFIA approached the County about the challenge shortly thereafter, we were given little hope of a resolution. But when we approached the team of County Executive Olszewski in fall 2019, the tide turned. Chief Sustainability Officer, Steve Lafferty, studied the matter, convened a meeting with the Department of Public Works and the missing pipe was installed, just a couple of weeks ago. (The photo below shows the work in progress in the spring of 2020, looking into the park from the end of Robin Hill Road.)
In December 2020, NeighborSpace worked with the PFIA on a grant application to the Maryland Department of Natural Resources for funding to restore the features damaged by the floodwaters. That request is outstanding.
Taking Care of the Park - A Partnership with NeighborSpace of Baltimore County
NeighborSpace is a nonprofit land trust that seeks to enhance the livability of the older communities inside Baltimore County's Urban Rural Demarcation Line by protecting and improving land with small parks, gardens, trails, and natural areas. Among the benefits of working with NeighborSpace is the fact that its land trust role means that the land is protected for the benefit of the community "in perpetuity," that is, forever! NeighborSpace also purchases liability and conservation defense insurance for the park and provides expertise with respect to the park's design, management, and programming.
In return, NeighborSpace expects its stewardship partners, including the PFIA, to help take care of the park. To that end NeighborSpace has developed this manual explaining how to take care of the park's features and plantings. It also hopes that members of the surrounding community will help to support the organization financially by becoming an annual member of NeighborSpace. For a monthly contribution of $2 or a one-time contribution of $30, donors receive a NeighborSpace Logo T-shirt, shown below. More information is available here or by clicking on the image below.