Baseball fans who are disabled will find seating designed for them throughout the new Camden Yards stadium, Maryland Stadium Authority officials said.
Disabled fans -- the wheelchair-bound, deaf and blind -- can purchase tickets for 428 seats. The seats are scattered throughout the new stadium's main concourse, upper deck and the exclusive club level of the 47,000-seat ballpark under construction near the Inner Harbor.
The seats for the disabled can be folded aside to make way for wheelchairs or be used as regular seats. The stadium authority says the seats are the most innovative in major league baseball.
"This seat is a breakthrough for us," said Fred Cowell, of the Paralyzed Veterans of America, a 15,000-member group of disabled veterans that lobbied for better seating at the new stadium.
Kim A. Beasley, an architect with the PVA, designed the new seat and has registered for a patent on it with the U.S. Patent Office. All proceeds will go to the PVA, Beasley said.
The seats for the disabled will each cost $297 to make and install. Regular seating at the stadium will cost $66 to $90 per chair.
At Memorial Stadium, there are only 42 spaces available for wheelchairs, and those do not include nearby seating for friends or relatives.
"I wasn't able to go to a game recently because the only option was to be carried up four flights and over many people," said Marian S. Vessels, director of the state office for handicapped people.
L "This allows me to sit in any area. It is how it should be."