Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski and Department of Recreation and Parks officials joined state and local elected leaders and community members to break ground for the new Sparrows Point Park—a major milestone in the transformation of a portion of the former Bethlehem Steel Mill property into a sustainably designed and accessible 21st-century park on Friday.
The nearly 22-acre site will be the first major new park in southeast Baltimore County in over 20 years and will fill a longstanding recreational gap in the Edgemere-Sparrows Point area.
“The incredible new Sparrows Point Park will provide a cutting-edge selection of recreational opportunities for residents of all ages — from playing fields and indoor gyms to a new playground and kayak launch — that will better connect families in Eastern Baltimore County and beyond,” said Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski.
“We are thrilled that this vibrant neighborhood hub will highlight Baltimore County’s rich industrial and cultural history while also ensuring families can make exciting new memories for generations to come. We thank Tradepoint Atlantic for their generous support and Baltimore County’s Recreation and Parks professionals for their commitment to providing sustainable recreation opportunities in every neighborhood.”
Sparrows Point Park will be Baltimore County’s first Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum-designed park project and will include:
A 16,000 square-foot community center with double court gym;
A 10,000 square-foot nautical-themed playground with boat climbing structure;
Two community-accessible activity rooms and concessions area;
Full-size synthetic turf field with LED lighting;
ADA-accessible fishing pier and kayak launch; and
A scenic walking path.
“While we are always excited to break ground on an innovative new project, as a lifelong Southeast Baltimore County resident, this project holds a special significance for me,” said Director of Recreation and Parks Bob Smith.
“This project presents a unique opportunity to provide a quality recreation amenity aimed at servicing one of our older communities while fostering synergy with one of the newest economic drivers in the region. Sparrows Point Park represents the Department’s continued focus on providing the best recreation opportunities to our residents and visitors throughout Baltimore County.”
Shortly after taking office in December 2018, Olszewski worked with Tradepoint Atlantic (TPA) to adjust a previously-negotiated public infrastructure agreement to provide the County with a major parcel of accessible land for a new public park.
County officials and Tradepoint Atlantic later selected the water-view site located at Wharf Road which TPA donated to Baltimore County in 2022.
“Today’s groundbreaking fulfills a commitment to the community to provide open space and increase recreational opportunities for the Edgemere-Sparrows Point community. We are especially thrilled that this new park will also honor and help preserve the storied legacy of the former Sparrows Point Steel Mill and the men and women who worked here,” said Aaron Tomarchio, Executive Vice President of Corporate Affairs.
“We look forward to our continued partnership with Baltimore County and the entire Edgemere-Sparrows Point community through this park and many other potential opportunities for us to give back as we have been doing since undertaking the transformation of the former steel mill.”
To support the approximately $25 million project, Baltimore County has secured $10 million in grant funding, including $3 million in Federal HUD Community Project Funding, $3 million from the state of Maryland, and $4 million in Maryland Program Open Space funding.
The park design will also emphasizes local environmental preservation, with nearly half of the waterfront site dedicated to maintaining the natural beauty of the area, including significant forest tracts and protective buffers along wetlands and the shoreline.
Located on a portion of what was once one of the world’s largest steel-producing and shipbuilding companies in the country, the park will pay homage to Bethlehem Steel’s industrial and cultural heritage.
The integration of a historic beam as part of the park’s signage will be a reminder of Bethlehem Steel’s vital role in the region’s history.
“As Tradepoint Atlantic continues revitalizing Sparrows Point and eastern Baltimore County, Sparrows Point Park is an exciting next step to preserve green space for the community to enjoy for generations,” said Councilman Todd Crandell.
“I’m grateful to Tradepoint Atlantic for their generous support for this project by donating the land, and I look forward to continuing to work with the County Executive to ensure that this project brings a world class park to our communities in southeastern Baltimore County.”
Sparrows Point Park is expected to be completed in late 2024.
For more information and updates on Sparrows Point Park’s development, visit https://www.baltimorecountymd.gov/departments/recreation/parks-directory/sparrows-point-park