Outdoor Climbing Facility Planned for Pigtown Main Street

| November 4, 2020 | 0 Comments

An outdoor climbing facility called Pigtown Climbs is planned for a 4,400 sq. ft. empty lot in Pigtown at 938 Washington Blvd. Pigtown Climbs, which will be a nonprofit, was launched by Pigtown resident Bri’Anna Horne in partnership with the property owner 930 Group LLC.

Horne met the owners of 930 Group LLC at a neighborhood plant giveaway at the lot over the summer at which time the owners told her they wanted it to be used as a community space. She proposed a climbing facility and they liked the idea and told her she could start planning it.

Horne is a microbiologist who studies bacterial infections and has worked at the aquarium for 11 years, starting in the 9th grade. At the aquarium she developed a passion for environmental stewardship. She started climbing a couple of years ago and sees it as a way to connect with nature.

Horne put together an executive team of 10, including climbers and non-climbers and six people living in Southwest Baltimore, which began planning and meeting with the Pigtown community. The team has professionals with different specialty areas including engineers and architects. A design for the faculty was put together pro bono by Toole Design.

The team is passionate about how inclusive outdoor spaces are needed in Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) communities. A presentation by the team says, “barriers such as safety, costs, access, exposure, historical trauma and under representation prevent BIPOC communities from holding their space outdoors.”

The design of the facility is still being refined, but Pigtown Climbs envisions a landscaped community gathering space at the front of the property facing Washington Blvd. and the climbing facility in the back of the property behind a gate with climbing walls, picnic tables, and potentially awnings. Horne said the initial renderings are “too techie,” but said it was fun to start to visualize it. Pigtown Climbs is also hoping to see a mural on the facade of the adjacent rowhome, which is also owned by 930 Group LLC.

The facility will offer climbing memberships, youth days, leadership training, stamina and strength training classes, and additional health initiatives including yoga and dance. It will also offer ADA access to climbing equipment.

Pigtown Climbs estimates the facility will cost about $500,000 which it will look to fundraise. The cost will include leveling the lot and building out the community space and facility. The team is reaching out to local politicians about grants and has developed a relationship with Earth Treks and REI.

Pigtown Climbs is hoping to open in the next 12 to 18 months.

Early concepts for Pigtown Climbs from Toole Design

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