Major Improvements Underway at Area Parks
I’m sure most of you have spent a lot of time outside in this beautiful weather. If you’ve been to Riverside or Latrobe Park recently you’ve seen some pretty big renovations going on. It appears the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812 has put South Baltimore in the right place at the right time.
Riverside Park was an integral part of the War of 1812 and, with the anniversary coming up this summer, some major improvements in conjunction with the Riverside Park Master Plan are taking place.
Here is a quick synopsis of Riverside’s role in the war:
In the early 19th century, the site of Riverside Park, known as Look-Out Hill, offered a clear view of the Locust Point Peninsula and the Patapsco River beyond. When the War of 1812 began in June, local militia infantry companies were stationed there to keep a look-out for British warships entering the river. Fort Look-Out provided a panoramic southern view of the shore batteries below Forts Babcock, Covington, Ferry Point, and McHenry and the Chesapeake Bay.
More on this can be found on the Locust Point Civic Association website.
All of the sidewalk paths throughout the park are getting resurfaced. Previously with a dark style road surface, the paths will now be made from sidewalk-style concrete. At the corners of, or entrances to, the park there will be a brick surface. This same surface will be seen around the merry-go-round gazebo. New lights and benches are also being added throughout the park.
A Phase II renovation is planned for Riverside Park, but can not move forward until a deal is reached with CSX. They own the land beyond the fence of the baseball/softball fields. Baltimore City and CSX are trying to work out the parameters of the land transfer. Gaining the extra space will allow for the fields to expand… so all you lefties hitting easy homers at Happ Hall Field will have to hit a home run much farther in the future!
Improvements will also be made to the athletic facilities in Phase II. The two basketball courts will get renovated – one of which currently has no hoops thus disqualifying it from the term “basketball court.” The baseball fields will have a taller fence at the park’s new perimeter and the back stops, fencing and lights will be replaced throughout.
Another interesting development to follow will be the possibility for a dog park in the new area acquired from CSX. The neighborhood varies on their opinions on the dog park, but there is currently a group in place pushing for the park. We’ll see what happens as there has been a movement for a dog park at Riverside for a long time!
If you’ve tried to play tennis, basketball or roller hockey at Latrobe Park lately, you’ve probably noticed that all the goal posts, nets and fences are missing. It is currently undergoing a five- to six-month renovation which will bring a new surface, new fencing, new hoops, new lights and tennis nets. The surface will be made of your standard court asphalt – unlike the tile surface at Federal Hill Park - and there will be new handicap paths leading to the courts.
This project is also in conjunction with the Latrobe Master Plan which was formed by the neighborhood and Recreation and Parks. The renovations should be ready by early summer with hopes to be finished in time for the War of 1812 anniversary coined the Star-Spangled Sailabration.
So with two park renovations, and a new Charm City Circulator route extending to Fort McHenry, the South Peninsula will certainly stand out for the anniversary.
There are a few other improvements going on in the area. A spray pad is being installed at Solo Gibbs Park in Sharp-Leadenhall. This should be available by summertime. They are also in the process of organizing a renovation of the burned down field house at Carroll Park which they hope to replace with a gazebo.
Union Square is also seeing a lot of renovations. There is a major make-over of the ornamental fountain and serious structural/visual work on the Greek style pavilion in progress.