City wise to partner with foundation

April 02, 2010

During times of shrinking resources, Baltimore City is wise to create public-private partnerships such as the one formed with Parks and People Foundation to restore and reopen 9 acres of inaccessible parkland and reconnect Druid Hill Park with the Greater Mondawmin community ("In face of cuts, city OKs funds for park building," April 1). The city's investment, under the leadership of then-Mayor Martin O'Malley and now Mayor Stephanie C. Rawlings-Blake is leveraging $11 million in federal, state, foundation and private funds to restore and expand this city landmark for public use, a 9 to 1 return on investment.

Parks and People Foundation was established in 1984 to assist the city in developing public-private partnerships like this one to assist a community with shrinking resources. Since 1990, we have generated $56 million for recreation, after-school, parks and environmental programs. Every day, hundreds of city school children take part in our after-school programs and sports leagues. In the summer, our SuperKids camp provides an academic enrichment program to 750 children for just $60 per child for the entire summer. Parents of the children at the 109 schools we currently serve know the important role Parks and People plays in keeping children engaged in positive, supportive activities. Nearly16,000 children have gone to summer camp, and more than 26,000 kids have played on our sports teams.

In addition, Parks and People plays a valuable role in creating and restoring Baltimore's parks and green spaces, working with more than 45 city neighborhoods each year. Research shows that well-maintained parks bring up housing values and build stronger, healthier communities. We all know what neglected, crime-filled parks do for our communities. We have a vision for Baltimore called One Park, in which all public open space is enhanced and connected in a green network accessible to everyone.

Parks and People Foundation does not do this work alone. We are thankful to our many partners both in government and in the private sector who make our work possible.

Jacqueline M. Carrera, Baltimore

The writer is president and CEO of the Parks and People Foundation.

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