70 volunteers cleanse a playground

July 17, 1993|By Katherine D. Ramirez | Katherine D. Ramirez,Staff Writer

They came 70 strong carrying brooms and shovels, and when they had finished all the glass and other debris had been cleaned up from the area around East Baltimore's Madison Square Recreation Center.

About 50 members of the cleanup crew work at nearby Johns Hopkins Hospital. The hospital adopted the recreation center as part of an effort to improve conditions in the troubled neighborhoods that surround Hopkins.

City police officers, workers from the Recreation and Parks Department and neighborhood residents assisted in the cleanup of the playground.

Madison Square Elementary School and Recreation Center is located at 1401 E. Biddle St. Johns Hopkins Hospital sponsors many

programs at the recreation center, including Little League baseball and the Craig Cromwell Basketball League. There is also a new academic center, offering cultural enrichment programs, such as a Spanish language course.

Colene Daniel, the vice president for corporate and community services at Johns Hopkins, said the cleanup will make it possible for the area's youths to enjoy the programs in a safe and clean environment.

"The amount of kids' feet that we see getting sewn up in the emergency room from stepping on broken glass was really getting to me," said Ms. Daniel. One hospital official estimated that the Hopkins emergency room sees nearly 600 such cases each year.

Ms. Daniel, therefore, suggested going with a crew of employees from Johns Hopkins to clean up the playground.

The Madison Square cleanup, said Ms. Daniels, is only one of the steps in a long rehabilitative process for East Baltimore.

"The attitude of the community has already begun to change because of the programs," said Mrs. Dorthea Galloway, principal of Madison Square Elementary School, the home of the recreation center. "With this cleanup, we want to encourage more participation in these activities, and bring them outside."

"Eventually, we would like to see Crime Watch neighborhoods develop here and people to move back into the boarded up rowhouses," said Ms. Daniels. "We want to see a renovation here like what took place in Sandtown-Winchester."

Sandtown-Winchester is a West Baltimore neighborhood where the city focused resources to create low-to-moderate-income housing by rehabilitating dilapidated units.

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