Although trash cans in Patterson Park are frequently overflowing, the paper bag in this photo actually appears to contain recently-trimmed brush from near the Utz Twardowicz field. - Photo by Erik Zygmont
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If you don’t know where to put your trash now in Patterson Park, something obvious—and aesthetic—should be there soon.
Brian Schneider and a group of Patterson-Park-area neighbors were recently awarded a Hack the Parks grant for $1,200 for 30 new drum-style trashcans. The trashcans will be painted by local artists and the community and placed in Patterson Park.
Hack the Parks, a program of the Greater Baltimore Technology Council, the Mayor’s Office of Information Technology, and City Rec and Parks, is a new initiative that awards grants to organizations and individuals who devise novel ways—both high-tech and low-tech– to improve Baltimore’s parks.
Schneider and neighbors Phyllis Fung, Leigh Peterson, Bruce Ward, and Steven Preston applied for the grant because they got sick of seeing trash blowing all over Patterson Park.
“I’ve been to a lot of major cities, like San Francisco and Portland, and they don’t have as much trash as Baltimore does,” Schneider says.
One of the problems with Patterson Park he says, is a dearth of trash cans.
Schneider believes that park visitors do use the receptacles that are in place, but that there are so few—and they get filled so quickly—that overflow, especially after events, is ubiquitous.
“A good example is the small annex park. It is constantly in use and only has two trashcans,” Schneider says.
Schneider also thinks some of park’s current cans—many painted forest green–blend into the parks’ scenery too much, and park visitors can’t always see them from a distance.
“If people don’t know trashcans are there, they won’t use them,” he says.
Schneider knows that the city doesn’t have the money to install as many trash receptacles as Patterson Park needs.
“And the trash cans the city likes to install—the big black ones mounted into the ground—cost upwards of $3,000 each,” he says.
Too expensive to solve the park’s trash problem.
Schneider and his neighbors thought that artistically painted trashcans would mitigate both the visibility problem and the debris problem, while beautifying the park at the same time.
Hack the Trash, like all the Hack the Parks projects, is fast-tracked for completion this summer, so the new trashcans will be painted soon.
“We’ve reached out to Banner Neighborhoods and local muralists,” he says, adding that it won’t be an artists-only project. “The community will be painting the cans, too.”
Schneider notes that Hack the Trash was actually one of four proposals the Fell’s Prospect and Patterson Park Neighborhood Association submitted to the Hack the Parks competition.
Two of the others dealt with different issues: illegal driving and parking in the park.
“Yeah, parking and driving in the park is another one of our big concerns,” he says. “Those proposals didn’t get funded, unfortunately.”
by Danielle Sweeney