–photo courtesy of Baltimore County Government-
Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski along with the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation, Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development, Chesapeake Gateway Chamber of Commerce, and Baltimore County Department of Recreation and Parks, broke ground on the new Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation Youth Development Park at Essex’s Fields at Renaissance Park on Monday, Nov. 7.
The groundbreaking ceremony kicked off the planned $2.3 million upgrade at the site, including replacing the existing grass field to a synthetic turf field, and plans to add benefits like an energy efficient LED field lighting system, permanent seating stands, scoreboard, and expanded sidewalk connections. The estimated time of completion is fall 2023.
“All communities benefit from having access to high-quality athletic fields, and the new Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation Youth Development Park will be a destination location, offering an enhanced experience for local athletes, visitors and spectators alike,” said Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski. “We are fully committed to the revitalization of Essex and grateful that our partners in this exciting project see the value of investing in the youth of Eastern Baltimore County.”
The lighted synthetic turf field will provide greatly expanded and improved field sports access, allowing the field to be used into the evening or during or shortly after rainy weather. In addition to greatly expanding recreational opportunities in the greater Essex – Stembridge area, the facility will provide students with the nearby Our Lady of Mount Carmel School direct access to the field for various interscholastic sports activities.
“Baltimore County and the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development are great partners and thanks to them we continue to make a positive change in the lives of kids,” said Steve Salem, President and CEO, Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation. “We are thankful for their commitment to providing athletic resources for kids to inspire them to make heathy lifestyle choices, as well as create opportunities for them to grow and learn new things. We can’t wait to see the impact this park will have the children of Baltimore County.”
This partnership project is funded by Baltimore County, the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation, federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding and the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development.
“Partnerships such as these are great for the County because we maximize funding from multiple partners and the end result is an amazing facility at a fraction of the cost to taxpayers,” said Baltimore County Department of Recreation and Parks Director Roslyn Johnson. “I am excited to see our youth and adults fully utilize this much-needed field.”
The Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation Youth Development Park will be the nonprofit’s first Baltimore County project, adding to its 106 existing facilities in 26 states and the District of Columbia. Such facilities offer ongoing recreational opportunities in qualified communities and provide a venue for Foundation-led programs and clinics proven to enhance young lives.