Creating Opportunity for Families in East Baltimore

Posted June 15, 2017
By the Annie E. Casey Foundation
The Cal Tyler Playground in East Baltimore

In a cer­e­mo­ny attend­ed by Baltimore’s may­or and oth­er dig­ni­taries, a new play­ground built by hun­dreds of vol­un­teers opened today in Eager Park, the 5.5‑acre green space with play­ing fields, an amphithe­ater, walk­ing paths and exer­cise equip­ment in the heart of East Baltimore.

The space is the lat­est sym­bol of progress and oppor­tu­ni­ty for the sur­round­ing neigh­bor­hoods, which are a pri­ma­ry focus of the Foundation’s Bal­ti­more Civic Site and have seen more than $1 bil­lion in new invest­ment since 2004. In addi­tion to the park, a Star­bucks that trains youth from low-income fam­i­lies and a new mak­er space for entre­pre­neurs recent­ly opened, and sev­er­al new mixed-income hous­ing devel­op­ments and a Mar­riott Res­i­dence Inn are under construction.

The play­ground was built on June 10 by KaBOOM!, a nation­al non­prof­it, and more than 200 res­i­dents, com­mu­ni­ty lead­ers and vol­un­teers, based on design sub­mis­sions from local par­ents and chil­dren. Sev­er­al pub­lic and pri­vate part­ners, includ­ing Casey, Bloomberg Asso­ciates, East Bal­ti­more Devel­op­ment Inc., the Kennedy Krieger Insti­tute, the New East Bal­ti­more Com­mu­ni­ty Asso­ci­a­tion, The Rouse Com­pa­ny Foun­da­tion and The UPS Foun­da­tion pro­vid­ed fund­ing for the project. The play­ground is ded­i­cat­ed to Bal­ti­more native and for­mer Casey trustee Calvin E. Tyler Jr., who has invest­ed heav­i­ly in the city over the last sev­er­al decades.

This play­ground is a token of thanks for a son of our great city,” said May­or Cather­ine Pugh dur­ing the cer­e­mo­ny. Through com­mit­ments of his time, exper­tise and gen­er­ous phil­an­thropy, Calvin E. Tyler Jr. has con­tin­ued to give back to Bal­ti­more. By invest­ing in our com­mu­ni­ties and youth, he is help­ing to make Bal­ti­more a bet­ter place to live, work and play.”

Tyler was born in Bal­ti­more in 1942. He attend­ed Bal­ti­more City Col­lege and Mor­gan State Uni­ver­si­ty before begin­ning his career as one of the first UPS dri­vers in the city. He remained with the com­pa­ny for 34 years, climb­ing the ranks from deliv­ery dri­ver to senior vice pres­i­dent of oper­a­tions, and over­saw all deliv­ery ser­vices in the Unit­ed States. Tyler served on the Foundation’s board from 19972003, and in 2016, pledged $5 mil­lion for a schol­ar­ship fund at his alma mater — the largest indi­vid­ual dona­tion Mor­gan State Uni­ver­si­ty has received.

Ensur­ing that all chil­dren grow up in strong fam­i­lies and safe, sup­port­ive com­mu­ni­ties is what it’s all about for Casey, par­tic­u­lar­ly here in our home­town,” said Patrick McCarthy, the Foundation’s pres­i­dent and chief exec­u­tive offi­cer. This play­ground is a man­i­fes­ta­tion of that com­mit­ment, which every­one here today shares, and we hope it will serve as a reminder of the pow­er and poten­tial all res­i­dents hold. We are thrilled to see it come to life.”

The play­ground and the sur­round­ing park will serve as a gath­er­ing place for fes­ti­vals, farm­ers mar­kets and oth­er neigh­bor­hood activities.

Learn more about Eager Park

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