Ravens help community get dream playground

Jun 12, 2007 3:00 AM (59 days ago)
by Sal Gentile, The Examiner


Playground photo
(Chris Ammann/Examiner)
Baltimore Ravens staff members team up with neighborhood residents and volunteers from nonprofit KaBOOM! to erect a playground Monday at Collington Square Elementary School in Baltimore City.
BALTIMORE - In a neighborhood of shattered windows and ramshackle row houses, crumbling and in disrepair, volunteers, clad in Baltimore Ravens purple, were building a playground — in one day.

That was Monday’s mission at Collington Square Elementary School, said Alison Risso, spokeswoman for nonprofit KaBOOM!, which helped coordinate the daylong event as part of the group’s overall vision for “a great place to play within walking distance of every child in America.”

Many of the places children go to play in areas like these are “dirty and drug-infested,” Risso said, and that’s why her organization was there.

A small stretch of North Collington Avenue in Baltimore City was roped off with police tape, and sirens flickered at each corner as police secured the area where neighborhood residents and members of the Ravens came together to help out.

“We try to do a major project in the community every year,” Ravens President Dick Cass said. “I think people look to us to be involved in the community.”

“This one rose to the top because of the amazing community involved,” Risso said of the school and nearby residents.

“They have absolutely made these kids’ dream playground come true,” she said of the Ravens team.

Collington Principal Harold Eason said the school was nearly dumbfounded when it learned the Ravens would not only fund the project, but that team members would be on-site to help out as well.

“We were just ecstatic,” he said. “It’s really been a force to bring the community together.”

The masses of purple T-shirts, tool belts and bottled water were not likely to dissipate into the evening.

“It’s heart-warming and hard work,” he said.