LANCASTER – What can 1.2 million dollars buy these days? For the kids of Lancaster city, it provides a new place to learn and play. Thursday morning, the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation and Ollie’s Bargain Outlet unveiled a youth development park on Duke Street.
Cal Ripken, Jr. was on hand for the ceremony and ribbon cutting. Clemente Field at Ollie’s Bargain Outlet Park is the 83rd youth park built by the foundation across the country. It’s unique because it continues a long tradition of community and humanitarian efforts from two famous baseball names.
"It's that spirit that we're trying to capture with the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation," explained Ripken, Jr. "Dad's life ended way too soon but his magic and his presence with kids, we're trying to use that influence and stretch it out so we can help more people."
"I'll tell you the one thing that Jr. and I talk about all the time," added Ollie's Bargain Outlet CEO Mark Butler. "We've been very fortunate and blessed to cut ribbons all over the country but all the time it comes back to children's chatter. When we come across this field and hear these kids playing, that's what excites us, that's what it's really all about."
"It's incredible, I'm a Pittsburgh girl, Clemente is very special to me and very special to this community," Karen Schloer expressed. Schloer is the CEO of the Boys and Girls Club of Lancaster. "His humanitarian work was amazing, so there's than and then the Ripken's. What can you say? Their family has dedicated themselves to making sure that kids have what it takes to play equally in the world. We're lucky, we're so lucky."
One of the flagship programs for the Cal Ripken, Sr. foundation is Badges for Baseball which trains local police officers to coach and mentor kids at the parks.