Excerpted from Baltimore Department of Public Works, Project Status and Update Presentation, October 2014.

Department of Public Works releases final plan for Druid Hill Reservoir project

On Wednesday, the Baltimore Department of Public Works released their “100%” final plan for the Druid Hill Reservoir project. DPW is planning to install two drinking water tanks (one holding 35 million gallons and another 19 million) buried under the western third of Druid Lake. After construction, the land above the tanks would become part of the park including a new band shell. DPW plans to convert the remaining eastern part of the reservoir into a publicly accessible lake but Druid Lake would no longer be part of the city’s drinking water supply.

View of Druid Lake looking towards apartment houses in Reservoir Hill, 1930 April 24. Baltimore Museum of Industry, BG&E Collection, BGE.3375N
View of Druid Lake looking towards apartment houses in Reservoir Hill, 1930 April 24. Baltimore Museum of Industry, BG&E Collection, BGE.3375N

Changes to Druid Lake are required by new federal policies to improve drinking water safety and follow nearly three years of study and public meetings. With the release of this final plan, the Department of Public Works is moving forward with implementation and anticipates completing work in four to five years – 2019 or 2020.

Throughout the planning process, Baltimore Heritage worked with neighbors and the Friends of Druid Hill Park, to draw attention to issues around the treatment of the historic lake and the new configuration of Druid Hill Park. We now have answers to a few of these big questions.

What happens to the historic stone wall and iron fence around the lake?

Around the eastern area of the lake, the project plan keeps the stone wall and fence in place and repairs any deteriorated elements. Around the western area (located above the tanks), the plan keeps segments of the stone wall in place but removes all the existing ironwork. The goal of the latter changes is to make the lake accessible to the public and support new opportunities for recreational  boating, fishing, and other activities.

Now that the lake is no longer needed to supply drinking water, will it still be kept full of water?

The Department of Public Works has committed to keep Druid Lake filled with water by diverting groundwater into the reconstructed lake and, if necessary, supplementing that supply with drinking water.

How does this project pay for the necessary park improvements?

Funding for this project from the Department of Public Works should pay for widening the path on the southern part of the lake and constructing the base for the band shell. The Baltimore City Department of Recreation and Parks is expected to find funding for to complete the band shell and related park improvements. Funding for this additional work is not currently included in the capital budget for Recreation and Parks but we hope to see those resources identified before construction is complete.

Illustration of proposed improvements. Baltimore City Department of Public Works.
Illustration of proposed improvements. Baltimore City Department of Public Works.

5 comments

  1. Myra says:

    Druid HIll is listed on the National Register of HIstoric places. Has proper review been performed by State Historic Preservation Officer/MHT?

  2. Shirley Smith says:

    This will be the perfect opportunity to begin having an annual cherry blossom festival around the lake.

  3. Peter Martin says:

    Has there been an environmental impact statement done on this project. I bird the park frequently and am concerned of how the recreation plan affects the birds that currently use the lake including ruddy ducks, pied-billed grebes, american coots, hooded mergansers and other breeding, wintering and transient water birds.

  4. Tony Waddell says:

    This is exciting!! I live on Mt Royal Terrace. The park is hugely important to the viability of my neighborhood and surrounding communities. I think that this is a great compromise and will put renewed interest and focus in what is truly a gem.

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