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Residents speak out at 25th Street Station meeting

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Baltimore City Councilman Carl Stokes vowed Monday night to ensure that a Walmart store planned for the new 25th Street Station will be an attractive addition to the neighborhood, saying he would “proactively encourage” Walmart and developer WV Urban Developments to improve the project’s current design.

The meeting, held at SS Philip & James on N. Charles Street, attracted more than 100 residents and business owners from Remington and nearby neighborhoods.

At the meeting, Laurie Feinberg, City director of comprehensive planning, explained that the changes Walmart has made to the original plan constitute a “minor” amendment according to the department’s guidelines.

Afterward, representatives of the architecture firm shared the designs that were initially presented last week to the Urban Design and Architecture Review Panel (UDARP). At that meeting, the design was characterized by a UDARP member as “bleak.”

Comments from residents generally agreed that the currently proposed design was too suburban in design, too monolithic and pedestrian-unfriendly. A presentation prepared by Old Goucher residents showed Walmart store designs in Washington DC that do a better job of incorporating the structure into the fabric of an urban neighborhood and requested similar quality here.

Other recommendations included moving access points to align better with existing intersections, and adding a convenient bus stop for local residents without a car.

GRIA President Judith Kunst, who spoke at the event, noted that the organization had posted the designs online and was actively soliciting resident input.

Councilman Stokes and Councilwoman Mary Pat Clarke, who also attended, later said that they might push the City Council to reclassify the revisions as major unless design improvements were made.

UDARP will review new design plans at a meeting on Thursday, Oct. 10. A public meeting is scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 24.