Community Developments in Middle Branch You Want to Know About

Oct. 18, 2023

Every Final Friday of the month, the Live Baltimore team likes to explore a new neighborhood or community amenity.

Our latest Final Friday adventure took us to the Middle Branch Fitness and Wellness Center on Reedbird Avenue in South Baltimore. Here, we met Facility Director Phillip Blackwell, a former NFL athlete and Baltimore City native, who gave us an exclusive tour of the center. We also met Brad Rogers, the executive director of the South Baltimore Gateway Partnership, who presented all the current and new developments happening in the South Baltimore community. Keep reading to find out what we learned.

The Middle Branch Fitness & Wellness Center

This new 35,000-square-foot fitness and wellness center opened in November 2022 and is located on Reedbird Avenue near the Hanover Street Bridge in the Cherry Hill neighborhood. This community hub features an aquatics center, a community room, fitness studios, a gymnasium with a basketball court, a maker’s space, indoor and outdoor walking tracks, a $3 million turf field, and more! Best of all, it’s completely free to all Baltimore residents!

A Reimagined Waterfront

Thanks to the South Baltimore Gateway Partnership’s Reimagine Middle Branch project, the 11 miles of shoreline known as the Middle Branch region are being completely reimagined with residents in mind. This includes plans to reduce and prevent shoreline erosion and plans for new playgrounds, parks, walking trails, event spaces, and more!

New Connections

One of the main drivers of the Reimagine Middle Branch project is connecting the isolated communities of South Baltimore with each other and other parts of Baltimore City. Plans for new trails, bridges, and gathering spaces make these communities more walkable and accessible for the neighbors in and around them.

Enriching Environmental Education

The Environmental Justice Journalism Initiative (EJJI), a black-led environmental nonprofit, in partnership with The University of Maryland, Baltimore County, the Institute of Marine & Environmental Technology, and the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, has plans to build an environmental education and career development center at the Middle Branch Marina. This includes science education for young scholars from under-represented backgrounds, continued environmental research, and water quality monitoring.

Affordable Homeownership Opportunities

Current renters of the Middle Branch area, specifically the Cherry Hill and Lakeland neighborhoods, have a unique opportunity to receive up to $10,000 to purchase or $20,000 to purchase & renovate a home in their neighborhood with Live Baltimore’s Buy Back The Block program. These grants do not have to be repaid. However, there are some guidelines and eligibility requirements that must be met.

If you’d like to speak with a Live Baltimore staff member about the Buy Back The Block program, please call us at 410-637-3750 x118 or email