Designs for the $30 million renovation of a West Baltimore recreation center — funded in part by the Baltimore Ravens — were presented to a city design panel Thursday as the project prepares to kick off early next year.
The Hilton Recreation Center, now called the Baltimore Ravens Boys & Girls Club at Hilton Recreation Center, is eyeing a 2025 reopening with construction expected to start in early 2024. The facility, which was closed for 12 years before reopening in 2021, was originally supposed to reopen with upgrades at the end of 2024 with construction kicking off later this year.
The privately-funded project will transform the current recreation center at 2950 Phelps Lane into a multipurpose athletic field with sports lighting, a teen center and space for activities, games and tutoring, as well as indoor and outdoor community gathering spaces. The Boys & Girls Club will manage the new building and athletic facilities along with providing various youth programs.
Located next to Green Street Academy, the facilities will serve as a home court and field for the school’s sports teams. The Boys & Girls Club will also work with community members and nonprofit partners to use the facility.
Plans presented to the city's Urban Design and Architecture Advisory Panel Thursday by architect Design Collective showed classrooms, a cafe area, flexible gathering spaces, bleachers along the multi-sport synthetic turf field, a fitness loop and dedicated spaces for younger children and teenagers.
“I realize that this is the first pass of the project and that you are very early on in your development," said Pavlina Ilieva, UDAAP chairperson.
The panel members liked the overall project and its intentions but did suggest including more connectivity between the outdoor and indoor spaces, creating more accessibility for pedestrians and the greater community and slightly moving some of the facilities around the property.
“Each step in this process gets us closer to cutting the ribbon to open a state-of-the-art Club and accompanying athletic fields for youth of Baltimore,” Jeff Breslin, the president and CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of Metropolitan Baltimore, said in a statement. “We look forward to the Advisory Panel’s feedback and finalizing the design for the Baltimore Ravens Boys & Girls Club at Hilton Recreation Center.”
In January, the project received a $20 million donation from the Baltimore Ravens and The Stephen and Renee Bisciotti Foundation, along with a new name. There are plans to raise an additional $10 million to fund it.
The facility renovations are being led by a partnership that includes the Ravens, the Boys & Girls Club, former Ravens player Torrey Smith’s LEVEL82 Fund, Green Street Academy and Baltimore City Recreation and Parks. Baltimore-based Whiting-Turner Contracting Co. is the contractor on the project.
In 2021, the Ravens donated $400,000 to open the facility that had been closed for nearly 12 years. Smith's LEVEL82 foundation has provided academic support, mentoring, youth development and recreational programs at the facility.
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