Druid Hill Park, neighborhoods get beautified for Green Week

LaMikgo Biega arranged mulch around the base of a small oak tree in Druid Hill Park as her son Xavier, 9, helped with the task.

"You gotta move it away from the tree," Biega, 47, told her son, spreading the mulch to ensure that thick piles don't inhibit the growth of the tree, planted in 2010 to celebrate the park's 150th anniversary. She asked Xavier for a rake, and the boy leapt up and ran off to find one.

Biega, who moved to the Baltimore area from Florida to start a new job in sales at Comcast this month, brought Xavier and her other son, Kingston, 6, with her Saturday for Comcast Cares Day.

The event, co-sponsored by the city's Department of Recreation and Parks and Baltimore Green Works, drew hundreds of the company's employees and their friends and families to Druid Hill Park for tree maintenance, landscaping, fence building, litter pickup and other service activities.

The event was the culmination of the 11th annual Baltimore Green Week, launched in 2004 and now organized by the nonprofit Baltimore Green Works. On Saturday, about 215 city neighborhood associations also worked to clean up their communities for the mayor's Spring Cleanup day.

Biega said she wanted to teach her children to give back and that "even when we take, take, take, we should also return."

"In today's world and society, not enough people give back," she said.

City Councilman Nick Mosby, whose district includes the area around Druid Hill Park, said keeping the area well-maintained would be important for the city's future but that the park was sometimes underappreciated.

"At the end of the day, many folks think of the harbor when they think of Baltimore," Mosby said. "When I think of Baltimore, I think of the gem of Baltimore, and that's Druid Hill Park. ... It means a lot to the city as it relates to our future."

Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, a Baltimore Democrat, also thanked the volunteers at the Druid Hill Park cleanup, as well as the city and nonprofit partners.

"There's so many other things you could be doing," Cummings told the crowd before they were set to begin. "But you're here, and you brought your bodies here to make a difference."

The cable-service provider has been holding its annual Comcast Cares Day across the country since 2001.

Other activities in the Baltimore region carried out by the company's employees this year included landscaping on the grounds of the Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts in Annapolis, organizing and stocking donations at the Maryland Food Bank in Baltimore, and mentoring children at a youth bowling event in Baltimore County hosted with Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Greater Chesapeake.

Donna Rattley-Washington, Comcast's vice president of government affairs and community investment, said the company chose Druid Hill Park as the focus of its efforts because it is the oldest municipal park in the city.

"It's really important that we give back to the communities where our employees and our customers live," she said. "This park could use some love, and that's why we chose it."



An earlier version of this article misstated one of the agencies involved in the program. The Sun regrets the error. 

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