BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Though thousands of public housing apartments have been torn down, one of the originals is still going strong.

Now, as Mike Schuh reports, a landmark piece of art that symbolized hope has returned to McCullough Homes.

These were among the first public housing units built in Baltimore. Welcoming the residents, cast in concrete by a gifted Baltimore sculptor, were two statues that symbolized the hope of growing children.

But those children were 70 years old and crumbling.

“And I just didn’t like to see them like the way they were,” said June Johnson.

So nearly 20 years ago, Johnson began to demand the city preserve its heritage.

“These kids represent, for me, the families who live here, the education, the recreation and these are what you need to make our lives a little better,” Johnson said.

Monday, that’s what happened.

The statues are recreations; the originals were too damaged to save.

The dedication brought joy to a community.

“Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, God,” Johnson said.

Baltimore can be a pretty bleak place. Those symbols of hope can help.

“We’re here to celebrate the statues, but really we’re here to celebrate the tenacity of the residents,” said Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.

“But this really speaks to the city and the people. As you can see, the community–you can see they really loved them and it’s nice to do this,” said Steve Tatti, the artist.

The $80,000 cost was paid for by grants and the city’s Historical and Architectural Preservation Commission.