Additional Exercise Equipment Added to Riverside Park

| June 3, 2019 | 0 Comments

New exercise equipment areas opened last month at Riverside Park and since then some additional pieces of equipment have been added. The equipment was installed by Baltimore City Recreation and Parks and is located just east of the playground and just north of the basketball courts.

The exercise area near the playground opened with two pieces of equipment for abdominal exercises, parallel bars for dips, and an apparatus with six pull-up bars. In recent weeks, an additional machine for dead lifts was added.

The exercise area near the basketball courts opened with just a balance beam. In recent weeks, an elliptical, a stationary bike, a handicap-accessible stationary bike, and a core strengthening swinging machine was added.

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 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.

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. Improvements were made by volunteers and additional new furniture is still on its way. The pool opened for weekend hours on May 25th.

Exercise area near the basketball courts

Exercise area near the playground before the dead lift machine was installed 

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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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