Roosevelt Center Greenbelt, MD


Greenbelt, Maryland is a renowned New Deal-era planned community, conceived and built in the 1930’s. At its heart is the Roosevelt Center, the town’s commercial and social core. BSD prepared a renovation design for a once-popular gathering and shopping area that had become dilapidated and deserted. The process was highly collaborative, involving extensive community input, numerous public meetings and charrettes. The resulting design combines historic elements from the 1937 plan with features that accommodate current uses.

The “Mother and Child” sculpture, created by WPA artist Lenore Thomas, was once a focal point of the Center, but this iconic piece had become obscured by heavy vegetation and damaged by vandalism and weathering. An Objects Conservator repaired the worn limestone, and BSD created a new plaza design that restores the strong central axis leading to the sculpture.

Bold details revived from the historic plan include period New Deal-style benches and rolled curbs along the redesigned planted areas. BSD also tapped current technologies, specifying the Cornell Structural Soil Mix to optimize tree root growth under the plaza without compromising the pavement. The shade trees now thrive in the Center, framing views and vistas for unobstructed lines of sight across the space. Café areas create a festive and inviting atmosphere in what is once again a lively town center.

City of Greenbelt
Greenbelt, MD


Project Manager
Sharon Bradley

Community Engagement

Multiple community charrettes and meetings
Information and update articles in local paper
Information piece on local TV channel
Arranged to have local pre-school watch the new trees placed by crane
Memorial tree and bench programs
Project presentations at key events (e.g. 75th Anniversary Symposium, University of Maryland)

Image Credit
Timothy Edberg