Rash Field Skatepark to Honor Memory of South Baltimore Resident Jake Owen

| October 16, 2017 | 0 Comments

Waterfront Partnership of Baltimore will begin work on the redevelopment of Rash Field next summer. Last week, Waterfront Partnership announced the skatepark at Rash Field will be named “Jake’s Skatepark” in memory of Jake Owen, a South Baltimore resident, avid skater, and sports lover, who was killed in 2011 when he was five years old by a cell phone-distracted driver.

Following Jake’s passing, his parents, Spike Owen and Susan Yum, worked with local government officials to pass Jake’s Law, which makes crashes caused by cell phone-distracted driving resulting in a serious injury or death, punishable with up to one year of jail time and up to a $5,000 fine. In 2014, Jake’s Law passed with overwhelming community support.

“Naming the skatepark ‘Jake’s Skatepark’ is a wonderful way to honor Jake’s life and will help make sure the skatepark is an inviting place for everyone, but especially young children,” said Laurie Schwartz, president of Waterfront Partnership, in a press release. “The skatepark is an important part of the new Rash Field Park and we’re looking forward to the community enjoying it in Jake’s name.”

To support the fundraising effort for the $20-million Rash Field Park design, Key Brewing Company, where Jake’s father is a partner, has collaborated with local breweries Checkerspot and Stillwater Artisanal to create a specialty craft beer with sale proceeds going to the park. “Landing Bolts,” named for the popular term used to describe a great accomplishment in skateboarding, is described as an India Pale Lager with the traditional lightness of a lager and the hoppiness of an IPA.

A fundraiser for the skatepark will be held at Key Brewery on October 21st at 2pm. It will include “Landing Bolts,” live music, food from Blue Bit BBQ and Chuck’s Trading Post, and a backyard BBQ competition hosted by Chuck’s Trading Post. Skate Baltimore will be onsite with a mini skatepark with ramps and rails.

“We’re excited to collaborate with Checkerspot and Stillwater Artisanal on Landing Bolts,” said Spike Owen in a press release. “Landing Bolts will also be available in various bars and restaurants throughout Baltimore including Max’s Taphouse, Blue Pit BBQ, Metropolitan in Federal Hill, among others, and a portion of all sales will go towards Jake’s Skatepark.”

Donations can also be made at www.rashfield.org.

Jake’s Skatepark will be located on the west side of the park within the first phase of the project. It will provide a dedicated space for the skateboarding community and will be accessible for skaters of all ages and abilities. Waterfront Partnership is partnering with Skatepark of Baltimore, Grindline, and Mahan Rykiel to design the skatepark.

The overall plan for Rash Field includes The Sand Box, a seven-court beach volleyball area near the center of the park; The Lawn, a natural grass field, which will be used for kids soccer games, pick-up sports games, events, as well as space to relax; Jake’s Skatepark; The Game Allee for bocce ball and ping pong; and the Play Lab for kids, which includes a nature park and kinetic play area.

The plan includes the demolition of the concrete bleachers around Rash Field. The bleachers against Key Hwy. will be replaced by a green wall. There will also be changes in elevation and grade for running and walking paths, landscaping, and gardens. This area will also be the new home of the Pride of Baltimore memorial.

The bleachers on the western end of Rash Field will be replaced by the new pavilion that features a top deck that overlooks the Inner Harbor and has views of the park, skyline, and waterfront. A café with an outdoor patio will be located on the first floor of the pavilion.

To finance the project, Waterfront Partnership has $10.5 million in capital fund from Baltimore City (although at this time the funds would be released in phases) and $2 million from the State of Maryland. It is looking for sponsors and grants to fund the rest of the redevelopment. The new design is more conducive to sponsorship opportunities within the park, according to Waterfront Partnership.

The project will either be done in two phases or one phase depending on the availability of funds. If done in phases, phase one would tackle the pavilion and the attractions to the west of the pavilion, which includes The Play Lab and Jake’s Skatepark.

Jake’s Skatepark Logo

Renderings of Rash Field courtesy of Waterfront Partnership of Baltimore 

(Click to enlarge)

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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, father of three, amateur pizza chef, skateboarder, and "bar food" foodie. Email me at Kevin@InceptMM.com and follow me on Twitter at @SoBoKevin.