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Baltimore City

Designs for second half of Baltimore’s Rash Field Park include a beach, athletic fields and lots of trees

Among the planned amenities is a large lawn that visitors can use as an athletic field, event space or waterfront picnic spot. A nearby beach will offer a space for volleyball or sunbathing, while a garden area will be reserved for nature education and outdoor fitness equipment. A shaded plaza will provide relief from the summer heat.

The Waterfront Partnership of Baltimore unveiled updated designs Thursday for the second phase of Rash Field Park’s expansion in the Inner Harbor.

Rash Field’s overhaul has been a work in progress since 2015 when organizers decided to split the project into two phases to make fundraising easier. The first phase of the renovated park, once an uninviting concrete and sandy field, reopened in November 2021 with a new skate park, playground and pavilion. The second phase of the project will add five acres, including green space and a beach.

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The project’s first phase, a 2.5-acre development that cost $16.8 million, focused on providing opportunities for children’s play and discovery, said Laurie Schwartz, president of Waterfront Partnership, the organization leading the public-private project. The park has since attracted an average of nearly 2,000 visitors each day.

The park has 700,000 annual visitors, which is “remarkable,” Schwartz said.

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Designs for the second half of the park, first developed in 2016, were sent back to the community for feedback. Residents offered similar suggestions for the updated renderings, such as adding shaded areas and opportunities for recreation. The project’s second phase, estimated to cost $16 million, will focus on wellness and leisure.

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Among the planned amenities is a large lawn that visitors can use as an athletic field, event space or waterfront picnic spot. A nearby beach will offer a space for volleyball or sunbathing, while a garden area will be reserved for nature education and outdoor fitness equipment. A shaded plaza will provide relief from the summer heat.

“As our summers get hotter and much of the Inner Harbor is brick and concrete and hard surface, the need for shade becomes even greater. And so this includes dozens more trees and gardens that will provide a quiet respite for people,” Schwartz said.

Nature trails, jogging paths and possibly even a roller skating area are included in plans for the second half of the park.

Schwartz estimates landscape architecture firm Mahan Rykiel Associates will start the process for drawing detailed schematic designs in spring 2023. State legislators have already committed $3 million toward the project. The Waterfront Partnership will seek public funds before fundraising from private sources in the community.

It will be years before the new phase of the park opens.

The current Pride of Baltimore memorial near Rash Field at the Inner Harbor

The partnership also pledged to incorporate a redesigned memorial honoring the Pride of Baltimore, which is currently memorized with a replica of the large mast. The Pride of Baltimore, a hand-built wooden schooner and replica of a 19th century ship, sank 240 miles north of Puerto Rico in 1986. Four people died, including the ship’s captain, and eight crew members were stranded at sea, floating in a raft for nearly five days.

The new memorial hasn’t been designed yet, but it would not be the mast displayed today, Schwartz said.


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