Final Design Approved for Rash Field Overlook and Pavilion

| June 7, 2019 | 0 Comments

Waterfront Partnership of Baltimore (WPOB) received approval today from Baltimore City Planning Department’s Urban Design & Architecture Advisory Panel (UDAAP) for the pavilion and overlook design for the redevelopment of Rash Field. WPOB expects to begin construction on Phase One later this year. This project is expected to cost $16.5 million.

WPOB President Laurie Schwartz said there is a small gap in funding to complete the project but said they have enough secured to begin construction. Baltimore City is contributing $10 million to the project, the State of Maryland is contributing $3 million to the project, and additional funding has come through donations, fundraising, and corporate sponsorship opportunities. WPOB has not yet announced how many dollars this effort has brought in.

Phase One will renovate the western side of the park with a redeveloped pavilion with a café, outdoor patio, overlook with a partially green roof, bathrooms, a shade structure, and amphitheater seating; a skate park called Jake’s Skate Park; a children’s nature park; a children’s playground; and new plants and landscaping. These new features will replace a small parking lot (not the one designated for the Maryland Science Center), a green space, a brick patio with a sandbox, and the western edge of the concrete bleachers.

The café will be “an amenity to the park first and foremost,” Schwartz told in April. The interior will have room for about 20 to 30 tables. Schwartz said it will not be a full-service restaurant or kitchen, but likely serve quicker items like paninis. It will have a liquor license and WPOB will then work with the community on a memorandum of understanding and The Board of Liquor License Commissioners for Baltimore City (BLLC) to approve the new liquor license. 

On the west side of the pavilion, a shade structure will cover amphitheater-style seating that will face the children’s play areas. Schwartz said this is so parents can watch their kids in the shade.

UDAAP panelists called the pavilion and overlook structure “elegant” and said that it will be “the best place around to take a photograph.”

Construction on Phase One is expected to take 12 to 18 months and WPOB is aiming for a Spring/Summer 2021 opening.

The eastern section of the park was built as a stadium for Southern High School (now Digital Harbor High School) athletics in 1975, but Southern began using different fields several years later. The concrete track and cement bleachers remain, and the former grass field has been the home to Baltimore Beach Volleyball for the last 19 years. It also serves as a memorial for the Pride of Baltimore and as an open green space that was once the home of a trapeze school.

In Phase Two, this section will become a reorganized seven-court volleyball area adjacent to the pavilion and café, a large lawn that will be used for youth sports and events, a game lawn, a shade lawn, a repositioned Pride of Baltimore memorial, and a myriad of sloped paths that will replace the bleachers and transition the change in grade from Key Hwy. to the ground level of the park. Plans for Phase Two will continue to develop.

WPOB has not set a timeline for this second phase or an exact price tag, but the organization is hoping progress on the first phase will boost fundraising for the project.

WPOB is working with Mahan Rykeil on the park design, Gensler on the pavilion design, and Grindline on the skatepark design.

Ben Hyman serves as the project manager of the Rash Field redevelopment.

Ideas for the redevelopment of Rash Field first began to arise in the early 2000s and this plan began to move forward in early 2016. WPOB is looking forward to finally making the redevelopment a reality.

“We are certainly excited. We are seeing funders and the community enthusiastic as we get closer,” said Schwartz.

Renderings courtesy of Waterfront Partnership of Baltimore, Gensler and Mahan Rykiel

Screenshot courtesy of Google Maps


Renderings from

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