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Ravens Support Building New Reservoir Hill Playground, Even With The Lockout

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- Ravens players aren't on the field due to the NFL lockout, but the organization is still busy in the community. Thursday there's a "purple reign" in one Baltimore neighborhood.

Ron Matz has more on how the Ravens are reaching out in Reservoir Hill.

It's the sound of hard work and heavy lifting. The Ravens All Community Team Foundation is out in force helping to build a new playground in Reservoir Hill.

Debbie Woods came all the way from York, Pa. to join 300 other volunteers.

"I love this," said Woods.

Normally, Ravens players would be volunteering, but because of the NFL lockout they can't be. But the team was well represented.

Ravens President Dick Cass was out instead.

"It's important for us to be involved in the community. This is one of our missions to be a positive force in the community, this is part of it. This is a great program because we get a lot of the community members involved with us, along with the organization. It's a great opportunity for everyone. We enjoy it. Normally, we would get the players in, but with the lockout it's really difficult, so we really can't have them here this year, but we'll get them back and when we finish this playground and the lockout ends we'll get some players down here and have a celebration," said Cass.

Kaboom will celebrate, too.  This is the national nonprofit's third playground in Baltimore the Ravens has been a part of. 

"We are building a playground today. Only one in five children has a safe place to play across this country. Today, you are going to help end that play deficit and build a brand new place to play right here in Reservoir Hill," said Danielle Trezek, project manager for Kaboom. "Kaboom is the national nonprofit that is dedicated to saving play. We dream of a great place to play within walking distance of every child in America. This project began about two months ago. I met with lots of folks from Reservoir Hill, Baltimore Housing and the Baltimore Ravens."

Until Thursday, 1,200 kids in the community didn't have a usable playground within walking distance. Now they do.

"It's the coming together of individuals. We're becoming a team, working together for a common purpose to improve our neighborhood, not only for our youth but for everyone. It means life and excitement. There was a playground here, but it was antiquated. Unfortunately, it was old and there was some dangerous equipment. This is a great and well deserved upgrade," said Chartreuse Trudy Robinson, president of Reservoir Hill Improvement Council. "Opening day is Sunday. It makes me feel good, the energy is positive and exciting. Reservoir Hill is a community blooming with opportunity."

As for football, Cass says things are looking up.

"Things are looking positive right now and I expect to have a full season. That's what we're looking forward to and getting ready for. We're going to have some football this fall, not long from now. I don't think there's any deadline, but progress is being made. We're cautiously optimistic. We'll see what happens over the next couple of weeks." Cass said.

The new playground's design is based on drawings created by children in Reservoir Hill. It will officially open Sunday.

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