Refined plans for Rash Field in Baltimore's Inner Harbor move ahead

Upgrades planned for Rash Field, the multi-purpose swath on the south shore of Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, have been refined and could get underway next fall, according to the Waterfront Partnership, a city nonprofit leading the work.

The plan calls for an overhaul of the pavilion, the replacement of underused bleachers with rolling bike and jogging paths, the repositioning of volleyball courts and the addition of open space, kids play areas and a small skate park. The entire field will be landscaped.

“Rash Field is heavily used and we want to make sure it remains heavily used,” said Laurie Schwartz, the partnership’s president, after a meeting with the city’s architectural review panel.

Designs for the project, first presented last June by architects at Mahan Rykiel Associates, have been split into two phases. Construction on the first phase of the project could begin in a year and take 12 to 14 months and include the pavilion, a children’s nature park and the skate park. The second phase would follow and include the paths and volleyball courts and an open field.

The space, used for Light City Baltimore, the Baltimore Book Festival, charity races and other events will remain in use during the renovations, Schwartz said.

The cost for the project is expected to be around $20 million, with $10.5 million set aside by the city and $2 million from the state. Schwartz said private fundraising is going well and the group is close to securing what’s needed for the first phase.

The work is unrelated to upgrades to Key Highway, though Schwartz said a new bike path added on the shoulder should bring more people to Rash Field. Removal of the bleachers will eliminate what had been something of a barrier to the field and allow for better flow, she said.

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