CSX is backing Baltimore youth in a big way. The company’s charitable giving fund, the CSX Foundation, teamed with the Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation to create the new multi-sport facility, which was unveiled Tuesday, May 29, at a ceremony featuring Baseball Hall of Famer Cal Ripkin Jr., vice chairman of the Ripken Foundation; Jermaine Swafford, CSX senior vice president and chief transportation officer; Kenneth C. Holt, secretary of the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development; Christopher Battaglia, Benjamin Franklin High School principal; and Steve Salem, president and CEO of the Ripken Foundation.
With a multipurpose synthetic surface designed for football and soccer, an advanced lighting system, a digital scoreboard and accessible bleachers, CSX Field at Baybrook Park will serve as the home field of the Ben Franklin High School Bayhawks athletic programs as well as a venue for large school functions and graduation ceremonies.
Between 2011 and 2015, the school moved from one of the city’s lowest performing high schools to one of Baltimore’s top choice high schools through diverse education and workforce development programs. The new field will be gifted and maintained by Baltimore City Parks and Recreation, providing a safe, productive recreational environment for students at Ben Franklin High School and local youth to continue to grow and develop.
In his remarks at the ceremony, Jermaine noted the company’s deep ties to Baltimore, where CSX predecessor the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad was chartered in 1827 as America’s first common carrier railroad.
“By contributing to the construction of CSX Field at Baybrook Park, our company is giving back to a city that literally gave us our start nearly two centuries ago,” Jermaine said. “My hope and the hope of CSX is that this field will encourage Ben Franklin students to continue to build on the positive momentum they have established in the classroom.”