A Ravens-themed playground is expected to open in Northwest Regional Park this summer.
The one-of-a-kind destination playground will draw on its proximity to the Baltimore Ravens team headquarters in Owings Mills with football-themed challenges and plenty of the home team’s characteristic purple color scheme.
A $500,000 donation from the Ravens matched by $650,000 in additional state and local funding made the project possible.
“The stars and the planets aligned, and everyone coordinated to help make this happen,” says Director of Baltimore County Recreation and Parks Roslyn Johnson at the project groundbreaking in April.
The department, in partnership with the Ravens, had long envisioned the Owings Mills playground as a fixture that would not only serve as an engaging, healthy outlet for outdoor play but also be a destination for kids and families across the region.
“In Baltimore County, we believe that every community deserves access to fun, safe, high-quality parks and recreational opportunities that enrich their lives,” says Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski.
In keeping with the football theme, the standout features of the playground will include a timed challenge course with 14 different obstacles and an artificial turf 40-yard dash.
“I live right down the street, so I can’t wait for this project to get done,” adds Ravens Linebacker Malik Harrison.
He plans to come with his cousins and little sisters. Harrison recognizes that even more important than its connection to football is the playground’s promotion of an active lifestyle for kids and an outlet for them to make memories.
The NFL Play 60 initiative taught in schools across Maryland challenges students to be active 60 minutes per day. It is currently being taught in the county’s 106 elementary schools, according to the Ravens.
The playground will also feature custom climbing structures, musical elements, a towering play system with slides reaching over 17 feet tall and one of five library story trails in Baltimore County.
Story trails take a book and place it page by page on stands for kids to stop and read, explains Baltimore County Public Library Director Sonia Alcantara-Antoine. Part of an educational outreach partnership with Baltimore County Recreation and Parks, the trails encourages them to learn, interact and read with their families.
This one will feature a story about a woman in football.
“I want children to be able to see themselves in the stories that we tell and let them know that they do have a place in sports and that they can be anything they want to be,” she says.
Baltimore County Council Chairman Julian Jones, who helped support funding through the Local Parks and Playground initiative, says he can picture the smiles on the faces of children and adults alike.
“I’m tellin’ y’all, I could do some flips right now. I’m so happy,” he says.