Waterfront Park Next to Horseshoe Casino Baltimore to Start Renovations Next Year

| June 24, 2019 | 0 Comments

In conjunction with Topgolf beginning construction in Stadium Area next year, an adjacent waterfront park behind the Horseshoe Casino Baltimore garage will also be renovated. The park is also located along the Gwynns Falls Trail and Ridgely’s Cove. This project is being headed up by the Baltimore Development Corporation (BDC) and Baltimore City Recreation and Parks.

In March 2017, BDC put out a Request for Proposals (RFP) for the Animal Control and BARCS site at 301 Stockholm St. which required finding a new home for the facilities. Topgolf and Horseshoe Casino Baltimore’s owner CBAC Gaming (the partnership of Caesars, Rock Gaming, and Caves Valley Partners (CVP)) was the lone bidder. CBAC identified the site at 2490 Giles Rd. in Cherry Hill and prepped the site for BDC and its South Baltimore-based contractor, Plano Coudon, to begin construction this month.

Animal Control and BARCS will make the move to the new facility early next year and then Topgolf construction will begin. CBAC and Topgolf will be constructing a 65,000 sq. ft., approximately six-acre Topgolf facility at the current site of Animal Control and BARCS along with adjacent Parking Lot J and a small City-owned property separating the two.

The current site of Animal Control and BARCS, which will be demolished, will be the outfield for the golf driving range. The outfield will end at the Light Rail bridge. Stockholm St. will get new landscaping and will have netting for the driving range.

Part of the Topgolf agreement with BDC is a plan for improvements to the adjacent trail and park. The two sides are still working on the details of this partnership and Recreation and Parks capital improvement funds will also be used. BDC Executive Vice President Kimberly Clark told SouthBMore.com that the goal for the park renovation is to have a very nice section of the Gwynns Falls Trail that leads into Topgolf. BDC is looking to better connect this burgeoning “Southern Gateway Entertainment District” along Warner St. that is anchored by M&T Bank Stadium to the north and Horseshoe Casino to the south.

The Gwynns Falls Trail park will be cleaned up with two feet of clean fill soil. A lot of phragmites, or invasive plant species, will be removed and new native plant species will be planted. The project will retain as many of the native trees as possible. Clark said that removal of the phragmites will make the park feel a lot more open, which in turn will open up views to the waterfront.

Currently on a walk or ride along the Gwynns Falls Trail in the park, the Ridgely’s Cove waterfront is barely visible except for when you are on the two bridges that go over two outfalls.

Clark noted the park is a nice area for bird watching.

The project plan is in the final stages of approvals by the Maryland Department of the Environment, Army Corps of Engineers, and Maryland Stormwater Management. It will then go before the Critical Area Commission as it is in a Critical Area of the Chesapeake Bay. The detailed plan will be made public in the near future.

Construction is expected to begin early next year around the same time Topgolf begins construction.

South Baltimore Gateway Partnership and Parks and People Foundation are currently managing a design competition that aims to turn the Middle Branch and Ridgely’s Cove into a 11-mile park system with new paths, pedestrian bridged, and improved green spaces. Each design submitted in the competition connects the Gwynns Falls Trail to the waterfront in Westport with new bridges.

Screenshot courtesy of Google Maps. Topgolf site outlined in blue, Gwynns Falls Trail park on Ridgely’s Cove outlined in orange. 

Photo tour of the current conditions of the park. All unobstructed waterfront views are from the bridges. 

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