Friday, May 4, 2012

Rally 'Round the Yards

It's a popular misconception that Camden Yards only comes to life on game days. 

Nothing could be further from the truth, as various parts of the complex are in use every day of the year.  One of the purposes of this blog is to show the many activities which occur in our sports and entertainment facilities, and how they serve the greater community (while also contributing to our bottom line.)

Leasing our facilities is a big part of this effort, and the lots are major producers -- but not just for parking.

This weekend, Lots G and H have been converted to a road course to allow consumers to test the manuverability and safety of Yokahama tires.

Similar road courses have been devised for test driving specific auto brands as well.  Mercedes was here last year, allowing potential clients to road test their newest models.

As part of our partnership with the City of Baltimore Police Department, we make the lots available for officers to receive instruction and be tested for duty on various vehicles. 

This particular exercise was a time trial for motorcycles, which required a tighter course.

Another part of our partnership with the City of Baltimore allows the lots to be used during snow emergencies.  Usually that means the City plows the lots in exchange for allowing nearby residents to park here rather than streets in front of their homes.

However, in the winter of 2010 Lots G and H became the staging area for many outside snow emergency vehicles brought in to help dig Baltimore out. 

(As you can see, the lots were also a dumping area for the mountains of snow that the vehicles removed from other parts of town.)

While Lots G and H have the most open surface, they are not the only ones used for other purposes.

You may remember the "Cash for Clunkers" lawnmover exchange sponsored by the Maryland Department of the Environment.  This interesting concept invited Marylanders to relinquish their gasoline powered, air polluting devices for a generous credit on a new "green" model that uses less energy with fewer emissions.

As you can see from the discarded gas guzzlers, the program was a big success, which prompted a repeat the following year. 

Quite often the lots are leased as a holding area for major trade shows being held at the nearby Convention Center.  Transport vehicles for the Auto and Boat shows stay for the duration of the event, as do commercial exhibit suppliers.

But sometimes the exhibits drop in themselves, as did this Army helicopter bound for a military recruitment event at the Convention Center.  Since it had to be disassembled to fit, Lot C was a good place to strip it down. 

After the show, it was towed back, sans rotors, and reassembled in the same place before reporting to duty.

So while our acres of asphalt may not seem like a facility or venue, they are significant in the success of Camden Yards and many activities taking place in downtown Baltimore.

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