A Place for a Child to Play

Formerly known as Ambrose Kennedy, Henrietta Lacks Educational Park was a blighted 1.75-acre park located between Latrobe Homes and Johnston Square Elementary School. Three-quarters of the park were paved with broken asphalt and the remainder contained two basketball courts in poor condition, patches of browning grass and a small community pool. Surrounding the park on three sides was a mangled ten-foot tall chain link fence. In 2014, revitalization efforts became so desperate that area residents used hand tools to pull out sections of asphalt.

Before and After

The Dream

More than 11,000 people live within walking distance of the park situated between Johnston Elementary and the 701-unit public housing project, Latrobe Homes. In 2017, Parks & People collaborated with Baltimore’s Department of Recreation & Parks, Re-Build Johnston Square, BUILD and The 6th Branch to re-envision the park. The results included:


  • beautiful walking paths
  • landscaped amphitheater
  • flowering shade trees
  • open grass playing field
  • bathrooms with changing areas
  • swimming pool
  • ADA accessible park
  • two new basketball courts
  • new water play area with slashpad

Breaking Ground

In 2016, Parks & People was one of only four organizations in the country to receive a $427,000 grant from the National Parks & Recreation Association, to be used for the restoration of Henrietta Lacks Educational Park. To reach the estimated $1 million cost, significant investments were made by Baltimore City, the State of Maryland and TRF Development Partners – a non-profit national leader in community development.

shovels hats

Making the Dream a Reality

In the course of nine months, Parks & People and our partner organizations transformed Henrietta Lacks Educational Park from a dream into a reality.
Watch the video below to see how we did it.


Grand Opening – Ambrose Kennedy Park!