Rash Field Phase II Refines Plans, Hopes to Start Construction in Fall 2024

| September 27, 2023 | 0 Comments

Plans for Rash Field Phase II received rave reviews at Baltimore City Planning Department’s Urban Design and Architecture Advisory Panel (UDAAP) this month. Waterfront Partnership is hoping to get started on this phase in Fall 2024.

The 7.5-acre Rash Field Park was built at the south shore of the Inner Harbor in 1975, and Waterfront Partnership has been working on plans to redevelop it for the last couple of decades.

The $16.8-million Phase I opened in November 2021. It included an adventure park with a pair of 30-ft. wooden towers and the BGE Nature Play area; Jake’s Skate Park named in memory of Jake Owen, an avid skater and sports lover who was killed when he was five years old by a cell phone-distracted driver in 2011; a shade lawn; a green overlook; and, the BGE Pavilion.

A café space is located in the pavilion with outdoor seating and views of the waterfront. A business has yet to open in this space.

Phase II will have (descriptions provided by Waterfront Partnership):

The Lawn

Dust off that picnic basket, bring the soccer ball, and invite your friends to “The Lawn” for the perfect waterfront picnic. Envisioned to be an athletic field, event space, and more, this dynamic leisure space features two U10 Soccer Fields perfect for hosting city-wide youth soccer tournaments. Adjacent to the field space are picnic areas, and a separated shade lawn, all framed by native plantings and art installations.

The Beach

A boardwalk trail, hugged by native plantings, invites visitors to enter “The Beach” and dip their toes in the sand either at the beach lounge area or in a friendly match of beach volleyball. Building on Baltimore’s popular beach volleyball community, this park section provides a space for spectators and players to watch from the sidelines while surrounded by natural features, including a pollinator garden and a beach garden.

The Gardens

“The Gardens” provides a space for city residents to reconnect with nature on a deeper level. Educational signage is just the tip of the iceberg in this section of the park, with potential spaces to learn more about native plant gardens, birdwatching, butterfly migration plantings, and more. Nature tours can highlight passive features such as the stone garden, art installations, and overlooks, while more active features like fitness areas and the terraced amphitheater can expand the types of community programming.

The Plaza

“The Plaza” is seated as the eastern hub area of Rash Field Park, providing visitors with activities to partake in with friends and family. Neighboring the relocated and reimagined Pride of Baltimore Memorial is a flexible plaza surrounded by outdoor game tables and seating. A Rain Garden and native plants outline the space.

Also in the plan is two pickleball courts. Waterfront Partnership President Laurie Schwartz told SouthBMore.com she would’ve liked to put in more pickleball courts, but there was only room for two.

The Beach will have six volleyball courts. The adjacent lounge area was inspired by Sugar Beach in Toronto.

The Phase II plans were refined in recent months to add more shade. 

Mahan Rykiel Associates is the design team for the project.

Phase II is has raised $16 million from State and local grants. Schwartz said they are about $2 million short of the funding needed to make it a reality. She hopes to have that funding secured by the summer with construction starting in the fall.

Regarding the Phase I cafe space that has yet to be leased, Schwartz said she hopes to have a tenant in there by the spring. Baltimore Development Corporation is handling the leasing.

Schwartz also noted visitors could see food kiosks at The Plaza in the future, as well a station for sports equipment.

“Phase I has just been so incredibly popular. It encourages all of us to complete Phase II quickly,” she said.

Mahan Rykiel Associates renderings from the UDAAP Presentation

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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.
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