East Baltimore's Eager Park opens May 6

Image caption: An early artist's rendering of Eager Park with the amphitheater overlooking the lawn.

Our East Baltimore campus is getting a new neighbor—and everyone's sure to want to stop by to say hello.

The $14 million Eager Park will be officially welcomed on Saturday, May 6, with a family-friendly day of activities that shows off its community spirit.

The 5.5-acre, 3-block linear park was designed as a spot for residents and workers to get together to socialize, relax, exercise, play, be entertained in a lush, green setting, and even buy fresh produce. It provides spots for individual recreation as well as a venue for programmed outdoor events such as farmers markets, concerts, and summer movie nights.

Designed by Mahan Rykiel Associates and Gensler Architects, the park includes a grove along North Wolfe Street that includes a fitness-oriented exercise circuit, along with displays and commemorative art honoring members of the community; a lawn that supports individual exercise, yoga classes, and pickup games of soccer; a performance amphitheater and pavilion; a playground; and a community garden.

"The designers of Eager Park tapped into the wisdom of nearby children, older adults, and residents to produce an open space that will welcome everyone," says Andrew Frank, special adviser to Johns Hopkins President Ronald J. Daniels on economic development. "In a short time, Eager Park will rival great Baltimore neighborhood parks such as Patterson and Clifton parks."

Saturday's grand opening begins at 8:30 a.m. with a Momma Move Celebration continuing through noon, when a parade begins. Other activities—scheduled through 5 p.m.—include music by the Dunbar Marching Band and the St. Veronica's Youth Steel Drum Band, line dancing, Zumba, a step show competition, clowns, balloon makers, and more.

On hand for the ribbon cutting at 1:15 p.m. will be Mayor Catherine Pugh, City Council President Bernard C. "Jack" Young, Sen. Nathan McFadden, President Daniels, and Dean of Medicine Paul Rothman.

Through a one-day lottery in September, dozens of university and health system employees put down roots in the neighborhood near Eager Park, using a one-day-only $36,000 grant from Johns Hopkins' Live Near Your Work program toward purchase of new houses being built by Ryan Homes and renovated older houses.

More than $1 billion has been invested since 2004 in the 88-acre neighborhood located just north of the Johns Hopkins medical campus. The park was built with public and private funds.