Cubs’ manager Joe Maddon opens playground in Pennsylvania hometown

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HAZLETON, Pa. — Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon returned to his Pennsylvania hometown to help open and dedicate a new $250,000 playground on Thursday.

The playground is part of the Hazleton One Community Center, the brainchild of Maddon and his cousin, Elaine Maddon Curry, and her husband, Robert Curry.

Maddon helped create the Hazleton Integration Project to unite people of different cultures in the town, which has a growing Hispanic population.

Maddon says the new immigrants need to be welcomed the same way his ancestors were. He says, “It’s no different from when our grandparents came here. No different.”

He outlines his effort to integrate the community in a letter posted on the website. He wrote:

“I see so many similarities between my Italian and Polish relatives and the Hispanic newcomers in Hazleton: for one, they’re seeking a better life for themselves, their children and their grandchildren. To ensure that our beloved city prospers in the current and coming generations, we must embrace diversity and work jointly to unite our cultures.”

The community center opened in a former Roman Catholic school about four years ago, and the playground dedicated Thursday is the latest addition.