Future Inner Harbor Skatepark to be Named After Boy Killed by Distracted Driver

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Rendering via Waterfront Partnership of Baltimore

The Waterfront Partnership will name a planned skatepark being built into a redesigned Rash Field in honor of a local boy killed six years ago by a distracted driver.

The plaza will be dubbed Jake’s Skate Park, paying homage to Jake Owen, a five-year-old child from Baltimore who loved skateboarding and died far too young. Owen was killed in 2011 when his family’s car was rear-ended by a driver talking on his cell phone in Baltimore County.

The skatepark will be installed in the western side of Rash Field Park, which is set to undergo a $20 million renovation that will also include a renovated pavilion, children’s play areas, a field and beach volleyball courts.

The Waterfront Partnership is collaborating with the Skatepark of Baltimore, skatepark construction company Grindline and local landscape and urban design firm Mahan Rykiel. The Rash Field project will be Baltimore’s fourth public skatepark, after Hampden’s recently finished facility in Roosevelt Park.

Skatepark of Baltimore president Stephanie Murdock said in an interview that she met with representatives from Grindline last April to talk design ideas. The plan in the works should “incorporate Baltimore street features that kids and young adults are already skating in the city,” she said. A main goal is to “try to give it a Baltimore flavor and replicate some of the more notable spots around the city in a safe, sanctioned area.”

It’ll be around 8,000 feet — about half the size of Hampden’s skatepark — and made of concrete, Murdock said. It’ll also sit right on the edge of the Inner Harbor, she noted: “This would really be kind of a crown jewel.”

The Waterfront Partnership has helped to take the lead on the project as a community partner. The nonprofit’s move to add Owen’s name to the skatepark gives it a new dimension.

“Naming the skatepark ‘Jake’s Skatepark’ is a wonderful way to honor Jake’s life and will help make sure the skatepark is an inviting place for everyone, but especially young children,” said Waterfront Partnership president Laurie Schwartz in a statement.

Jake’s father, Spike Owen, is now helping directly with fundraising for the park. A partner in Key Brewing Co. in Dundalk, Spike has partnered with South Baltmore’s Checkerspot Brewing Company and Stillwater Artisanal in Canton to create specialty India pale lager from which sale proceeds will help fund the project. The beer will be appropriately named “Landing Bolts,” named for an occurrence in skateboarding in which the rider lands a trick with some steez by getting both of his or her feet right on top of the board’s trucks.

Key Brewing is holding a fundraiser for the skatepark on Oct. 21 at 2 p.m. The specialty beer will be served, along with food from Hampden-Woodberry’s Chuck’s Trading Post and Blue Pit BBQ. There’ll also be a “backyard BBQ” competition hosted by Chuck’s and a temporary mini skate park with ramps and rails provided by the Skatepark of Baltimore.

Those looking to help out while drinking some craft beer can look for “Landing Bolts” around town soon. The IPL will be served at Max’s Taphouse, Blue Pit, Metropolitan and other bars, with a portion of all sales going toward the skatepark.

This story has been updated with comment from the Skatepark of Baltimore and corrected to reflect that Baltimore has four skate parks.

Ethan McLeod
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Ethan McLeod

Senior Editor at Baltimore Fishbowl
Ethan has been editing and reporting for Baltimore Fishbowl since fall of 2016. His previous stops include Fox 45, CQ Researcher and Connection Newspapers in Northern Virginia. His freelance writing has been featured in Baltimore City Paper, Leafly, DCist and BmoreArt, among other outlets. He enjoys basketball, humid Mid-Atlantic summers and story tips.
Ethan McLeod
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