New Exercise Equipment Areas Now Open at Riverside Park

| May 10, 2019 | 0 Comments

New exercise equipment areas opened this week at Riverside Park. They were installed by Baltimore City Recreation and Parks and are located just east of the playground and just north of the basketball courts.

The exercise area near the playground features two pieces of equipment for abdominal exercises, parallel bars for dips, and an apparatus with six pull-up bars. The exercise area near the basketball courts has a balance beam.

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 he was approached in 2016 to see if there was interest for installments, as well as appropriate locations at Riverside Park.

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 cost was approximately $50,000.

“After some delays, we are excited about their arrival,” said Fisher. “We hope that the residents, local schools, and fitness groups will make the equipment part of their Riverside Park exercise routine.”

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 could also 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. 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.

The Riverside Park pool recently received a $49,500 grant from South Baltimore Gateway Partnership. Contractors and volunteers will make improvements to the pool before the 2019 swim season. The first volunteer day is tomorrow.

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