Fundraising Begins for $12-Million Phase 2 of the Rash Field Redevelopment

| March 11, 2020 | 0 Comments

As work is going on behind the scenes to mobilize construction for Phase 1 of the redevelopment of Rash Field, fundraising is now underway for Phase 2 of the project. Waterfront Partnership of Baltimore is kicking off fundraising to raise $12 million for Phase 2 and Governor Larry Hogan has included $500,000 for Rash Field in his proposed capital budget which will need to be approved by the General Assembly.

Waterfront Partnership’s fundraising plan for Phase 2 calls for $5.25 million from the State, $4.75 million from the City, and another $2 million from private sources. Waterfront Partnership will submit another request for State funds next year.

Rash Field is a 7.5-acre park on the south side of the Inner Harbor. Phase 1 is a $16.8-million project that will tackle the western side of the park starting at the pavilion. Waterfront Partnership held a ceremonial groundbreaking for Phase 1 in January, but is still working with BGE to shut down a transformer on-site and to set up temporary electrical connections before construction can begin. Once that is completed, it can obtain permits and let construction manger and general contractor Whiting Turner begin work on the project.

Phase 1 will add 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 kinetic 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.

Jake’s Skatepark is named in memory of Jake Owen, a South Baltimore resident, avid skater, and sports lover, who was killed in 2011 when he was five years old by a cell phone-distracted driver.

The café will be “an amenity to the park first and foremost,” Waterfront Partnership President Laurie Schwartz told SouthBMore.com 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 Waterfront Partnership 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.

Next week, in partnership with Baltimore City Recreation and Waterfront Partnership, Baltimore Development Corporation will issue a Request for Qualifications for the Rash Field Park café operator.

Mahan Rykiel serves as the park’s designer after being selected from a group of 13 submissions in 2015.  Gensler was the designer of the pavilion.

The City is contributing more than $9.5 million towards design and construction costs of Phase 1, and Waterfront Partnership has raised an additional $4.3 million from the State of Maryland, and nearly $1 million from private sources.

Waterfront Partnership is hoping to have Phase 1 opened in Spring or Summer of 2021 and hoping to immediately begin Phase 2 so Whiting Turner can keep its crews at the park.

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 2, 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 2 will continue to develop.

Ideas for the redevelopment of Rash Field first began to arise in the early 2000s.

Current site of Phase 1

Phase I renderings from Waterfront Partnership, Mahan Rykiel, and Gensler 

Screenshot courtesy of Google Maps

 

Renderings of booth phases from RashField.org

 

 

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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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