Mount Carmel to benefit from renovations at Essex Park

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As Our Lady of Mount Carmel School’s athletic program continues to grow, it will benefit from a unique relationship with a state-of-the-art facility soon to be built.

Mount Carmel athletic director Alex Brylske and president Lawrence Callahan both said it was a perfect example of how the East Baltimore County school can thrive as part of a community. history through public-private partnerships.

School officials participated Nov. 7 in a groundbreaking ceremony for the new Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation Youth Development Park at Essex’s Fields at Renaissance Park which is expected to be ready for use at the fall 2023. Mount Carmel sports teams will have access to the facility until 6 p.m. each day and for Friday night events once a memorandum of understanding is completed, according to Brylske.

Mount Carmel was instrumental in working with the state, Baltimore County and the Ripken Foundation to secure grants and funding for the $2.3 million project. Mount Carmel School Board member Robert Romadka helped lead the effort.

“Over the past few years, while we’ve seen some small Catholic schools struggle or close, Mount Carmel has shown it can thrive,” said Brylske, who oversees a middle and high school sports program that includes 11 teams with 190. students participating in this fall. “This facility is going to be a huge benefit not only to our sports community, but to our community as well.”

Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski, along with the Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation, the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development, the Chesapeake Gateway Chamber of Commerce and the Baltimore County Department of Recreation and Parks were on site to start construction of the facility.

Improvements to the site include replacing the existing grass pitch with an artificial grass pitch and plans to add an LED lighting system, permanent seat supports, scoreboard and extended sidewalk connections.

Brylske, who said the seeds for the project were sown in 2018, noted that her alma mater has always been proud of her partnership with the Essex community.

“It’s a public-private partnership model,” he said. “Mount Carmel has been a proud member of the Essex-Stembridge Rec Council for over 30 years. We have been involved in the planning of Renaissance Park for over 20 years. It speaks to Mount Carmel’s history of being part of the Essex community.

Brylske said the benefits to the Cougars’ sports teams can’t be ignored, and he credited Callahan for his drive and vision.

“It’s a huge benefit for our sports teams, but also for the community,” he said. “Having a venue to host events on Friday night is important. The Friday night lights ensemble is a great rallying point for any community and brings people together.

The project is funded by Baltimore County, the Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation, federal US Bailout Act funding, and the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development.

“I have seen many innovations in my career,” said Callahan, who was honored in August for his more than 60 years as a Catholic educator, including as superintendent of schools in the archdiocese. of Baltimore and the Archdiocese of Washington. “I can tell you that this inauguration was really special because of its partnerships. This is going to be a tremendous asset, not only for Mount Carmel, but for the whole community.

Callahan praised the state, Baltimore County and the Ripken Foundation for their collaboration.

“All communities benefit from access to high-quality sports fields, and the Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation’s new youth development park will be a destination location, providing an enhanced experience for local athletes, visitors and spectators,” Olszewski said in a statement. Release. “We are fully committed to the revitalization of Essex and grateful that our partners in this exciting project see the value in investing in East Baltimore County’s youth.”

This will be the Ripken Foundation’s first project in Baltimore County, adding to its 106 existing facilities in 26 states and the District of Columbia.

“Baltimore County and the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development are great partners, and through them, we continue to make a positive change in children’s lives,” said Steve Salem, President and CEO. direction of the Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation, in a press release. “We are grateful for their commitment to providing sports resources for children to inspire them to make healthy lifestyle choices, as well as creating opportunities for them to grow and learn new things. We can’t wait to see the impact this park will have on the children of Baltimore County.

Email Gerry Jackson at [email protected]

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