Kaiser Permanente and Bon Secours Community Works broke ground on a $6.6 million community resource center in West Baltimore this week.
The resource center coming to 31 S. Payson St. will be the centerpiece of a broader "Future Baltimore" revitalization project, spearheaded by Kasier and the social programming arm of Bon Secours Baltimore. The center will offer an array of social, economic and public health resources and services, including mental health and trauma screening, access to healthy food, exercise and fitness programs, arts-based therapies and career and education services for young people and adults. The center is projected to open in spring 2021.
Plans to transform Payson Street's abandoned Enoch Pratt Free Library branchinto a resource center were announced in 2017. Destiny-Simone Ramjohn, director of Community Health for Greater Baltimore with Kaiser Permanente, said the partners have been able to raise about $5.3 million in funds so far to support the build out and programming for the center. Supporters of the fundraiser include Under Armour, Ramjohn said, which donated about $1 million. Bank of America has also donated $500,000 to the cause.
The project is aimed at increasing economic activity and supporting holistic health efforts in the 21223 ZIP code, which spans some of the most neglected neighborhoods in Baltimore. Community leaders from the Boyd-Booth, Fayette Outreach and Franklin Square neighborhoods are active partners in the effort.
"The 'Future Baltimore' initiative is all about how we see the future of health being transformed in a single ZIP code," Ramjohn said. "We want to address some of the most intractable health, economic and social needs in this area...We see this center as an accelerant, to help us disrupt some of the inequities."