BALTIMORE (WJZ)– Victims of opioid addiction are cleaning up Baltimore neighborhoods to heal the community.
26ers Park in the Harwood Community was once infested with crime, but now it’s giving recovery drug addicts a sense of purpose.
The grand reopening of the park comes after a year-long project to clean up the run-down spot known for illegal activity.
“Was known as the park from hell, so no one wanted to visit it,” said Concerted Care Foundation director Ronald Shelley.
The people who refurbished the park are in a drug recovery program through the Concerted Care Foundation.
“Many of them have been destructive in the past, but now they want to restore and be a part of the restoration process,” Shelley said.
The foundation focuses on rehabilitation, helping with career development and building skills to help recovering addicts to succeed, such as landscaping to designing, and even grant writing to secure the funds to build the fence.
“A little park like this in a sense can increase the values and be attractive for people to live in this area,” said Catherine Dorsey, who donated the park.
“Yeah you have an addiction, or you may have issues, but the stigma needs to be replaced by people who want to give back,” Concerted Care Foundation client Harry C. Johnston said. “Sure we have done bad things, but I have been clean. For 13 years and look back at that as a struggle but now I am seeing the light.”
In addition to transforming the park, the individuals in recovery are working to clean up the entire neighborhood by adopting other lots and painting murals.