New Exercise Equipment Areas Under Construction at Riverside Park

| February 7, 2019 | 0 Comments

Baltimore City Recreation and Parks has begun construction on two adult exercise equipment areas at Riverside Park. The equipment areas will be located just east of the playground and just north of the basketball courts.

Recreation and Parks received a grant in 2017 to fund exercise equipment installments at several parks. Jackson Fisher, who coordinates activities for the Friends of Riverside Park, a subcommittee of Riverside Neighborhood Association (RNA), told SouthBMore.com he was approached in 2016 to see if there was interest and appropriate locations in Riverside Park.

“Based on the athletic field and exercise group usage in Riverside, it seemed as though this would be a very good fit,” said Fisher.

Recreation and Parks met with RNA and several local fitness groups in December 2018 to discuss the project, as well as to get feedback on potential locations and the types of equipment.

The project will cost approximately $50,000. Each area will include four to five pieces of equipment that will provide a range of different exercise options. Both areas will be handicap accessible and ADA compliant.

Construction was supposed to begin last spring, but there were delays in the planning and purchasing of the equipment.

A renovation and expansion of the athletic field at Riverside Park is also expected to begin this year as part of Phase Two of the Riverside Park Master Plan. Recreation and Parks has been working on a stormwater plan and engineering, and will provide an update to RNA in April. The expansion was made possible after the purchase of a $300,000 triangular-shaped piece of land located beyond the outfield fences of Hap Hall Memorial Field from CSX.

Improvements will include a new basketball court replacing the current basketball court and an adjacent second court that has been without baskets for many years; irrigation; new lighting; ADA-accessible dugouts and bleachers; terraced seating; and stormwater management at Hap Hall Memorial Field. The stormwater plan includes some natural areas to collect runoff and stormwater. These areas could feature the addition of pollinator and butterfly-friendly plants.

The new land will allow for the short right field fence of Hap Hall Memorial Field to be extended, and allow for a wider playing field for soccer and football towards the eastern end of the field.

A new parking lot, which could accommodate 15 to 20 cars, is planned for the southwest portion of the expanded Riverside Park. “That side (west side) of the park has significant parking issues,” said Fisher in July 2018.

Recreation and Parks is looking into constructing a walking/cycling path from Johnson to Covington St. along the southern boundary. This addition might be a tight fit with the boundaries of the adjacent railroad lines, but RNA has stated it would like to see this happen.

In addition to the field renovations, there is a $200,000 budget for the renovation of the red field house, which was once a recreation center, to include functional bathrooms. Preliminary plans include bathrooms, possibly a concession area, and storage rooms for field equipment and park tools. The area in front of the field house may get some seating or tables. Recreation and Parks is revisiting some of its preliminary drawings to reflect feedback from RNA.

Phase One of this plan was implemented in 2012 before the Star-Spangled Sailabration. The historical portions of the park were renovated with new pathways, lights, trash cans, and benches. The site is associated with the Battle of Baltimore during the War of 1812 and was known as Fort Lookout.

Phase Three of the Riverside Park renovations will include improvements at the pool. This will likely include a renovated pool building with colonnades and pavilions for gathering. It could also include new splash pool attached to the existing baby pool and a new fountain at the park entrance to the pool. Fisher previously said there is no indication Phase Three would take place anytime soon and that the focus is on getting Phase Two completed.

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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