The power of teamwork

Johns Hopkins volunteers share the heavy lifting to build Eager Park's playground

The playground at the northernmost end of the new $14 million Eager Park got a rocketlike start on June 8, when employees from the Johns Hopkins Office of Government and Community Affairs, JHU Office of Communications, and JHM Office of Marketing and Communications pooled their muscle power.

The dozens of Johns Hopkins staffers—who were joined by likeminded volunteers from the Kennedy Krieger Institute and the Oxford Club—were in the East Baltimore neighborhood to work with kaBOOM!, the national nonprofit dedicated to facilitating active play spaces.

The workers-for-a-day traded their usual electronic devices for shovels, wheelbarrows, wrenches, paintbrushes, and table saws as they assembled huge metal climbing apparatuses, shoveled and hauled dirt from scores of machine-bored holes, mixed concrete, and built wood tepee trellises and primed pavers for the 5.5-acre park's community garden.

Two days later, 200 more volunteers and friends of Eager Park turned out to help finish off the build. Among them were children who painted the pavers to decorate the garden's paths. A professional crew would come in afterward to add the playground surface.

Built with a mix of public and private funds, the three-block park just north of the Johns Hopkins medical campus is intended as a centerpiece for the evolving neighborhood, an 88-acre area that has seen more than $1 billion in new investment since 2004.

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