Second Phase of Rash Field Redevelopment to Begin Construction this Year

| June 6, 2024 | 0 Comments

Waterfront Partnership of Baltimore press release: 

Waterfront Partnership of Baltimore, the organization dedicated to enhancing and promoting the waterfront district’s parks and public spaces, announced today it secured the funding necessary to start the second and final phase of Rash Field Park redevelopment, clearing the way for an additional five acres of state-of-the-art public space on the south side of Baltimore’s Inner Harbor.

“This is a big step forward for Baltimore’s Inner Harbor,” said Laurie Schwartz, Waterfront Partnership’s president. “With the State and City of Baltimore’s support, we can continue our work in bringing a new Park to Baltimore’s waterfront. Our team and partners dedicated countless hours to ensuring community voices were heard and integrated into the Rash Field Park Phase two designs – it is truly a project designed by our community and we are excited to start construction later this year.”

In addition to funds secured for the already completed first phase of Rash Field Park, Waterfront Partnership secured $14 million from the State of Maryland with support from Senate President Bill Ferguson and District 46 leaders including former Delegate Brooke Lierman and Delegates Mark Edelson, Luke Clippinger and Robbyn Lewis. The City of Baltimore committed the remaining $4 million in funds necessary for the project, allowing the construction to begin following a groundbreaking in Fall 2024.

“Rash Field Park phase two is the culmination of tremendous leadership and advocacy from so many at the State and local level,” said Senate President Bill Ferguson. “Today’s approval by the Baltimore City Board of Estimates is another essential step in realizing the revitalization of the Inner Harbor and downtown Baltimore. I’m proud to have played a part in its continued success.”

While the portion of Rash Field Park that opened in November 2021 emphasized children’s play and how welcoming and accessible waterfront public spaces can be, the second and final phase will focus on recreation, wellness and leisure. Elements include a large open lawn for field games or special events, extensive gardens, a beach and several walking paths, including a nature walk and a fitness trail with exercise equipment. Led by Mahan Rykiel Associates, the design for the park has focused on user interaction with feedback provided through community engagement incorporated into each phase of the design. 

“The Lawn” is envisioned as a flexible space for a relaxing spot to have a picnic or enjoy the waterfront views; an event space; or a sports field. “The Gardens” will provide a space for city residents to reconnect with and learn about nature on a deeper level and in an adjacent area, park users can engage in fitness activities. In addition to two pickleball courts and six beach volleyball courts, “The Beach” is designed as a space for visitors to dip their toes in the sand to relax and enjoy the sunshine.   

“Rash Field Park is an amazing, reimagined green space that patrons flock to in record numbers. Adding Phase II will enhance the overall appeal of the Inner Harbor for families, residents and tourists who visit Downtown Baltimore,” said Executive Director Reginald Moore, Baltimore City Recreation & Parks. “We’re excited about collaborating with Waterfront Partnership to further enhance this space. This will be a jewel in our city and is another win for Baltimore.”

With events such as the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra performing during Baltimore’s Fourth of July Celebration, the Harbor Harvest Children’s Fall Festival and a variety of free regularly scheduled programs such as Waterfront Wellness and the award-winning “Boards and Breakfast” programs at Jake’s Skate Park, Rash Field Park is seeing a significant increase in daily average visitors with the highest single-day attendance for both phases reaching approximately 10,100 visitors over Memorial Day weekend on May 25, 2024. Already, the Park has been recognized for its design and impact on the community with the Urban Land Institute’s 2022 Wave Maker Award and Baltimore Magazine’s Best of Baltimore award for “Best Skate Park” for Jake’s Skate Park. 

Waterfront Partnership did not yet give a timeline for completion of the project.

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.

Renderings courtesy of Mahan Rykiel and Waterfront Partnership 

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