RASH FIELD PARK
THE FUTURE IS COMING
Working closely with Baltimore City, especially the Department of Recreation and Parks and Baltimore Development Corporation, Waterfront Partnership is taking the lead in bringing to life a new waterfront park experience at the 7-1/2 acre Rash Field Park. Park plans are focused on serving Baltimoreans as well as visitors, especially to serving children and youth citywide by creating a safe, accessible and centrally located park. This brand-new Park will offer a safe and central location that will be a free, welcoming space with many year-round activities and events for all ages.
Plans include several children’s play areas, a skatepark, pavilion, beach volleyball courts, and an open field for events and sports. Renovations to the park will be split into two phases. Phase I includes a children’s nature play space and a kinetic play park, a skatepark, a shade lawn, a modern pavilion that will feature a waterfront café serving food and alcohol with a green roof overlook providing dramatic views of the Baltimore Inner Harbor. Phase II includes the re-organization of the current beach volleyball courts (while maintaining the same number of courts) and creating a new beach experience for families. Bleachers along Key Highway will be demolished and replaced with shaded walking and jogging trails, the Pride Memorial will be relocated closer to Key Highway, bird and butterfly gardens will be established, and fitness equipment and a game lawn will be installed.
The Phase I area is in active design now with construction slated to begin by January. Phase I construction will take approximately 12-15 months to complete with the goal to welcome families at the new park by spring 2021. Design on the Phase II area will commence as Phase I progresses, and a timeline for design and construction will be prepared at that time.
Yes. All areas east of the Kauffman Pavilion will remain open during construction, including the beach volleyball courts. The Promenade will also remain open during construction.
The budget for Phase I is $16.8 million and the majority of those funds have been raised. The City of Baltimore has committed $9.5 million; the State of Maryland has committed $4M and $2M has been raised from individuals, businesses and foundations. Waterfront Partnership has been actively fundraising to fill the gap and performing value engineering to lower costs. The current gap is less than $500,000.
A small 2,000 square feet café will be built inside the pavilion to service patrons visiting the Park. The café will serve light fare such as sandwiches, salads, soups, etc., and proposals also include beer, wine, and liquor service. Over the coming months, a public process will begin to select a local restauranteur to operate the café.
The café is intended to be an amenity for park users, not a destination in itself. Many new parks built across the country, from NYC to Dallas, offer food and alcohol options to patrons. The cafes are used as an additional park amenity and do not generate traffic for the sole purpose of eating and drinking. The Maryland General Assembly is considering legislation which, if approved, would allow Waterfront Partnership to apply for a liquor license for the café. Original legislation included a standard provision for alcohol to be served until 2 AM, however after neighborhood concerns the 46th District team amended the legislation and changed the time to 11 PM. Enabling legislation before the Maryland General Assembly is designed to be flexible so that a local operator can propose a successful business plan that serves park users.
Over the coming months, Waterfront Partnership will engage in a public process to select a local restauranteur to operate the café. Once an operator is selected, we will meet with the neighborhood to present more detailed plans and also begin to craft a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). With the MOU and specific plans in hand, Waterfront Partnership will still need to apply for a license with the Baltimore City Liquor License Board.
Waterfront Partnership employs safety guides that will be assigned to monitor the Park during operating hours. Also, the Baltimore Police Department’s Inner Harbor Unit is stationed nearby (in a substation located in the lower level of the Rusty Scupper building).
The café will only operate when the park is open. It will not be a concert pavilion hosting large bands or any amplified sound events. If music is provided, it would be background atmosphere type music for café patrons.
Yes. Public bathrooms are included in the Park plans. There will be a men’s and women’s public restroom, accessible from the east side of the pavilion (closest to the beach volleyball courts). The women’s restroom will have four stalls and the men’s restroom will have two stalls and two urinals. In addition, the café will have its own set of restrooms.
Waterfront Partnership is developing a comprehensive parking and transportation plan so families can enjoy the park no matter where they live. The Marina Garage – directly adjacent to the Park – boasts more than 200 parking spaces and a recent Parking Authority study found ample available street parking along Key Highway by Federal Hill Park. We are committed to directing visitors to off-street and metered parking and the eight bus routes that directly serve the Park.
Waterfront Partnership is committed to maintaining a beautiful park that is up to the standards kept throughout the Inner Harbor. Negotiations are in effect with the Baltimore City Department of Recreation and Parks to govern management responsibilities at Rash Field.
Waterfront Partnership has a demonstrated record of partnering with the Baltimore Police Department to create safe, enjoyable experiences at the Inner Harbor and throughout the district. Safety guides patrol from 9:30 AM to 10 PM Sunday-Thursday, and until 11 PM on Friday and Saturday nights. Security cameras and other safety devices will also be installed throughout the Park. BPD’s Inner Harbor Unit is stationed directly adjacent to Rash Field in the first floor of the Rusty Scupper building and Waterfront Partnership’s safety team meets regularly with BPD to ensure a safe experience for all park users.
Most of the construction at Rash Field Park is expected to take place after the Key Highway resurfacing project is complete. Waterfront Partnership will work with the Department of Transportation to minimize disruptions to Key Highway during Rash Field construction.
Baltimore City Department of Transportation is managing the Key Highway resurfacing project. The project is expected to be completed by May 2020. For more information, please visit: https://transportation.baltimorecity.gov/dot-projects/key-highway-light-street-intersection-improvements
RASH FIELD PARK INFORMATION