Baltimore officials announced yesterday that they have picked five design teams to compete to redo Rash Field and add a parking garage beneath it.
City officials say that they hope that the Joseph H. Rash Memorial Park -- which opened in 1976 -- will be completely redeveloped in time to allow Baltimore to host a spring 2009 stop of the Volvo Ocean Race in the Inner Harbor, should it choose to return to the city.
The park is located on the southern portion of the Inner Harbor. About 9.3 acres, the open space extends from the Maryland Science Center to the Rusty Scupper restaurant. An outdoor ice rink used to operate on Rash Field each winter, but it closed in 2003.
City officials have tentatively set aside about $25 million to pay for the underground garage portion of the project, paid for through parking revenue bonds, said Peter Little, executive director of the Parking Authority of Baltimore City. That money would cover the cost of the garage -- estimated at up to 500 spaces -- as well as a new roof that would serve as the base of the redone Rash Field.
While Rash Field might be raised to accommodate a garage underneath, Little said one of the goals of the project is to preserve the sightlines between the area and Federal Hill -- which means it's unlikely the ground would be raised significantly.
In January, the Baltimore Development Corp., the parking authority and the city's departments of public works and recreation and parks had called upon design teams to submit their qualifications and cost estimates for planning.
Fourteen teams responded, and the five picked yesterday to compete are: Hord Coplan Macht Inc. (Carol Macht); PB Americas Inc. / Halvorson Design Partnership Inc. (Gerald Jannetti); Timothy Haahs & Associates Inc. / EDSA (Timothy Haahs); Whitman, Requardt & Associates LLP / Mahan Rykiel Associates (David McCormick); and Ziger/Snead Architects & Thomas Balsley Associates (Steve Ziger).
City officials and community representatives will interview the five teams to make a final selection, which Little said he hopes will be happen within the next 10 days.
"Ultimately, our timeline is to be substantially complete by the spring of 2009," Little said. "Should the Volvo race decide to come here, we want to be ready."
The team that is selected will be expected to work with many community groups throughout the design process, Little said.