Baltimore City Announces $120M Vision for Recreation and Parks

Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott recently announced $41 Million in American Rescue Plan Act Funding (ARPA) for the city’s recreation infrastructure.

Baltimore City Mayor Brandon Scott

Yesterday, Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott announced a new era of recreation and park improvements throughout Baltimore City. The $41 million American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) allocation will allow BCRP to take a much-needed first step in addressing the systemic lack of investment in recreation. The funding would roughly allot $10 million for public pools, $20 million for recreation centers, $5 million for playgrounds, $1 million for trails, and $2 million for athletic fields and courts.

According to the press release:

The presence of all of these partners coming together in support of our communities signals a new spirit of collaboration and a unified vision around improving recreational opportunities across our city. This is about showing our residents — especially our young people — that they matter. That we recognize their needs, are committed to their wellbeing, and are going to put our money where our mouth is by providing them with safe 21st-century spaces to exercise, develop life skills, and spend their time productively,” said Mayor Brandon M. Scott. “This is another tool in the toolbox as we rebuild public safety in Baltimore City. Growing up in Park Heights and going to our city’s rec centers, I have seen firsthand the profound positive impact that recreation and parks have on our communities. They can literally save lives. We are following through on our promises to provide Clean and Healthy Communities, Prioritize Youth, and Build Public Safety.”

The importance of the City’s recreation spaces was demonstrated in no more significant way than early into the pandemic, where BCRP managed to keep parks and trails open and shifted rec center operations to emergency meal sites for school-aged children and their families. They kept Baltimore’s communities connected — providing internet for young people to engage in virtual learning and for their families to work online and continue to access vital resources when in-person services were suspended during the height of the pandemic.

Recognizing the importance of these spaces, the Scott Administration plans on leveraging the ARPA allotment to secure additional investments into Baltimore City’s recreation facilities and public parks. The Mayor’s $120 million vision for recreation opportunities takes into account the ARPA allocation and funds already appropriated for FY22, as well as financial commitments and requests made to nonprofit organizations, private funders, and State sources for FY23. Taken together, they represent the largest ever commitment towards expanding opportunities for city residents to exercise, play, and thrive.

Read the full press release.