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New Ronald McDonald House heart lights up Baltimore's skyline

If you “heart” anything about the Ronald McDonald House Charities that provides housing for seriously ill or injured children — and who doesn’t? — you might find your own ticker giving an approving thump at the newest addition to Baltimore’s skyline.

A 26-foot tall red heart that sits above the $30 million, 60,000 square foot House being built in the Jonestown neighborhood officially was lit up the evening of Feb. 26, signalling that the new facility, which will accommodate up to 2,200 families annually, or double the amount that can squeeze into the current House, is one step nearer completion.

When it is completed later this spring, the impressive new facility at 1 Aisquith St. will include such amenities as 54 guest rooms, a meditation space, a kitchen and dining room, a family business center with computers and printers and a kids-only “magic room.”

The current building at 635 W. Lexington Ave. is the only Ronald McDonald House in Maryland and has provided shelter for more than 35,000 families since it opened in 1982, the release said. But, it’s simply too small to keep up with the demand.

Charity administrators are eager to get off on the right foot with their new neighbors. The release said the organization will improve nearby McKim Park for the use of Jonestown residents by building a new basketball court and playground and by sprucing up the green space.

“After years of planning and fundraising, we are thrilled that construction is almost completed and our dream … will soon be a reality,” Sandy Pagnotti, president and CEO of the Maryland charity said in the release. “We will double our capacity to serve families in crisis who come to Baltimore in search of hope and care at our world class medical institutions.”

mmccauley@baltsun.com

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