Annapolis Mayor Joshua J. Cohen announced that a partnership with Anne Arundel County, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Annapolis and Anne Arundel County, and the Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation has resulted in a grant that will help revitalize an Annapolis neighborhood and support youth baseball for City and County youth.
As part of a $5.5 million Community Legacy Program grant award, the City of Annapolis received $50,000 for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Annapolis and Anne Arundel County (BGCAA) to develop a Youth Park at the Wiley H. Bates Heritage Park.
“This project is an excellent example of how different groups can successfully partner to achieve a shared vision that expands educational and recreational opportunities for local youth,” Mayor Cohen said. “I applaud the Boys & Girls Clubs’ Chief Professional Officer Reggie Broddie, the staff of Anne Arundel County Recreation and Parks Department, the Annapolis Chief of Community Development Theresa Wellman, and Arundel County Community Development Services Inc. Projects Planner Miranda Darden who worked to get this grant off the ground. Without their dedication and diligence, this money would not be available and this project may have been delayed.”
The BGCAA saw the ball fields at Heritage Park as a tremendous opportunity to provide more comprehensive sports programs for the youth they serve, as well as for the greater community.
After a successfully working with the Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation to implement a “Badges for Baseball” program at the Club, the BGCAA began discussing opportunities to redevelop the fields and create a comprehensive sports program. As a result, a partnership was formed and the Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation agreed to build a state-of-the-art Youth Development Park at Heritage Park. These Youth Development Parks are being built around the country by the Ripken Foundation through partnerships with community groups. This park would be only the third one in Maryland.
“We are pleased for the City and the many children this field and facility will serve,” said Boys & Girls Clubs of Annapolis and Anne Arundel County Chief Professional Officer Reggie L. Broddie.
The $50,000 grant will go toward the construction of the park, with additional funds coming from a $350,000 matching bond bill, sponsored by Maryland House Speaker Michael Busch. “I am thrilled the City got the money to offset the cost of this worthwhile project,” House Speaker Busch said. “Not only will this facility benefit our youth, but it will benefit athletic programs countywide.”
The remainder of the funding will come from the Ripken Foundation funds and private funds raised by the Boys & Girls Club and their community and philanthropic partners.
“We are proud that Anne Arundel County has successfully installed turf fields at all of our high schools for the use of our student athletes and the surrounding communities,” County Executive John R. Leopold said. “This partnership between the county, the Cal Ripken Foundation and the Boys & Girls Club will be a tremendous asset to our youth.”
The Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation will continue to have a presence at the field and implement character education programming and clinics for youth.
The start date of the field project is anticipated for early summer of 2013.
“I am grateful that residents of Ward 4 will benefit from the generosity of our partners in the county and the state,” Ward Four Alderwoman Sheila Finlayson said. “The Boys and Girls Clubs, under the leadership of Reggie Broddie, have numerous programs that assist our communities, and this park is a reminder of the ongoing work being done to support our youth.”
The goal of Community Legacy, a program of the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development, is to provide local governments and community development organizations with funding for essential projects aimed at strengthening communities through activities such as retaining and attracting businesses and encouraging homeownership and commercial revitalization. The City has successfully been awarded more than $1.5 million in Community Legacy funds since the program began in 2002.