Ken Harris grew up in Park Heights. He often credited a recreation center for helping him grow into the man who would go on to work for Baltimore as a city councilman, which he did. But his life was cut short when he was gunned down 10 years ago. Tuesday, his legacy was solidified in the community.
The Kenneth N. Harris Senior Community Center will be a place where young people can learn, play and achieve.
Tuesday afternoon, everyone from Mayor Catherine Pugh and current city council members to his family took pride in dedicating the facility to him.
"I know he's happy and smiling down right now from heaven," said Harris' son, Kenneth Harris Jr.
"This is everything he stood for. He was big into recreation centers, he was big into giving kids things to do after school and opening up new opportunities." Harris said.
The Leith Walk Recreation Center has been renamed in the former councilman's honor.
"This is just a display of our love and care for an individual who loved and cared for his city," said Mayor Catherine Pugh.
Harris was murdered 10 years ago during a robbery in Northeast Baltimore outside of a jazz club. The men responsible are in prison, but that's not what defines the former councilman.
"Seeing the sign with my father, seeing the impact he had on this community and on myself included, it's just so emotional but very happy," Harris said.
"He was a modest man who grew and grew from hard backgrounds and got his academic degrees and then moved up here from West and East Baltimore to embrace North Baltimore and to be a neighborhood leader," said colleague, Councilwoman Mary Pat Clarke.
The center holds a head start program run by the YMCA and a program that helps kids with homework, social enrichment and aftercare.
"I don't know that we could even put forth a tribute that would be fitting to his career and his commitment," Pugh said.
"I'm full of joy right now. I can't really describe it, hard to put it into words," Harris told WMAR 2 News.
Harris' killers are both serving life sentences.