Rash Field Plans Now Include Denmark-Inspired Skatepark

| April 14, 2016 | 2 Comments

The plans for the redevelopment of Rash Field were presented today at Baltimore City Planning Department’s Urban Design & Architecture Review Panel (UDARP) by landscape architecture firm Mahan Rykiel Associates and The Waterfront Partnership of Baltimore. The plans, which were last presented on March 29th, featured the addition of a new skatepark. Inspired by the Lemvig Skatepark in Denmark, the new skateboarding park would be located in The Play Lab & Café section on the northeast shore of Rash Field.

The skateboard park, which was suggested at previous Rash Field public meetings, would be woven into a play area at the space. Richard Jones of Mahan Rykiel also noted that there is a high percentage of African Americans in Baltimore who skateboard, so this provides a space and an activity to help diversify the park.

During the presentation, it was also proposed to relocate the carousel to the Inner Harbor’s West Shore Park.

The key aspects of the park remain including a seven-court beach volleyball area called The Sandbox; a sports field and event area called The Lawn; an area for bocce ball and ping pong called The Game Allee; reading rooms; bleachers; a rock climbing wall; a relocated Pride of Baltimore Memorial; a gravel running trail; and, garden.

The panelists called the plan a “great start,” but were hoping for a bolder design, although the current budget doesn’t allow it. “We’ve explored a larger vision for Rash Field for many years, but we simply don’t have the resources,” said Tom Stosur, Baltimore City Planning Director. “Plus, there are bigger projects out there we are also hoping for, like a renovated Lexington Market and a redeveloped McKeldin Square. The driver here is to get residents to feel like it’s their park.”

The city has $4.5 million budgeted for the first round of improvements with an additional $4.5 million expected in upcoming years.

UDARP Panelist Richard Burns hoped to see a better or more prominent location for the Pride of Baltimore Memorial, and several panelists hoped to see better connection points between Rash Field and Federal Hill.

Jones anticipated construction would take about 18 months. A groundbreaking is anticipated for the summer or fall of 2017.

The plan was very well-received at the March 29th public meeting, although several in attendance, as well as all the work groups, noted the number of volleyball courts was not increased in the new plan.

Baltimore Beach Volleyball President Todd Webster told SouthBMore.com he was positive about the progress and happy to see the park get some “desperately needed attention.”

Webster has been planning a second venue, in addition to Rash Field, to meet the growing demand for volleyball. He did not disclose the location or timeline for the venue at this time.

Also scheduled to get underway in the immediate area is the redevelopment of the Key Hwy. and Light St. intersection. The project is anticipated to start this fall and has an approximate 18-month construction timeline.

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Renderings from the Mahan Rykiel presentation (note: renderings are before the addition of the skatepark)

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About the Author:

Founder and Publisher of SouthBmore.com, longtime resident of South Baltimore, and a graduate of Towson University. Diehard Ravens and O's fan, beach volleyball enthusiast, dog lover, and "bar food" foodie. Email me at [email protected] and follow me on Twitter at @SoBoKevin.
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