Area requires help during stadium eventsBased on all the...

the Forum

August 17, 1994

Area requires help during stadium events

Based on all the media reports, entertainment lineups and vendor and attendance figures, it is obvious that the AFRAM '94 Festival was a huge success and seems destined for a bigger and better future.

Given the quantity and quality of Baltimore's African-American heritage, including industry, politics, civil service, education and many other areas, this destiny is both warranted and necessary as a means of cultural preservation.

However, with the apparent indication from local officials that AFRAM has found a home on the grounds of Camden Yards, our city officials must be more pro-active in dealing with the basic logistics of yet another type of "stadium event."

As far as I am concerned, any event with an expected attendance of more than a few hundred and that takes place on any part of the Camden Yards proper is a "stadium event."

As a resident of Ridgely's Delight, the next-door neighborhood to Camden Yards, I accept the fact that these "stadium events" including baseball games, the October 1992 religious revival, the annual Hoop-It-Up tournament, AFRAM and the upcoming October visit by the pope are facts of life.

This is a fact I willingly live with, since the downtown/stadium location is the main reason I chose to purchase a home in Ridgely's Delight. However, I find unacceptable the fact that due to shortcomings in the basic services of a city worthy of my tax dollars, the quality of life in Ridgely's Delight sometimes suffers during a "stadium event."

City officials must address the following areas:

During baseball games, there are usually at least 20 to 30 police officers on the stadium grounds to preserve order and maintain the general welfare of the fans.

Yet 150 feet away in Ridgely's Delight, there is rarely a foot patrol officer to be found, let alone two or three as there should be.

Why are there no officers to preserve order for the Ridgely's Delight residents and to ensure the safety of the 1,000 or so fans that enter and leave the stadium through the neighborhood?

These officers are also needed to monitor the behavior of the occasional groups of males who go to the games sober and return stinking drunk with the urge to get rowdy or leave some urine stains on a local residence.

During AFRAM, the foot traffic was at least two or three times that of a normal baseball game. Can you imagine the irony of this situation?

During AFRAM, I got on a teen-ager's case for throwing a piece of trash on the sidewalk that I had just spent an hour sweeping. This punk responds by threatening to mess me up in various ways if I don't leave him alone.

Thirty minutes later, when a car patrol officer returned with a teen closely matching the punk's descriptions, I had to tell the officer that this scared, innocent, young fellow was not the one.

What is this unfortunate kid supposed to think? How am I supposed to feel that the bad guy got away? How should that officer feel?

If there were foot patrol officers in the neighborhood at the time, there can be little doubt how the situation would have been resolved.

While the Department of Public Works does an excellent job of ticketing and towing cars that are illegally parked in the neighborhood during baseball games, I have to ask why the religious revival, Hoop-It-Up, AFRAM and the upcoming visit by the pope are not being considered as "stadium events"?

Ridgely's Delight is a small community with about 470 homes, but only 400 or so on-street parking places. During the revival in 1992 and AFRAM '94, vehicle traffic through the neighborhood was unbelievably dense, and it was virtually impossible to find a parking place all weekend.

At night, the female neighborhood residents should have an opportunity to park within eyesight of their homes. Public Works must treat all "stadium events" equally, whether the event is a baseball game, a religious meeting, AFRAM or anything else.

Finally, with the large amount of foot traffic through the neighborhood comes an increase in the amount of trash that seems to end up on the streets.

The amount of trash left behind after AFRAM was about the same as after a baseball game. When there is a heavy amount of foot traffic through Ridgely's Delight due to a "stadium event," Public Works should provide extra clean-up details for returning the neighborhood to a condition equal to or better than it was before the event . . .

Steven Hegg

Baltimore

Obey the curfew

Recently there was a TV news segment showing a group of youths playing late at night on an inner-city street on the first night of the city's curfew.

The youths -- and some of their parents, who also were interviewed -- chose to ignore the curfew because there were no police around to enforce it.

It is this way of thinking that shows why there are a lot of problems with crime in the city. Apparently, many youths have been taught that one doesn't have to obey the law if there is no one around to enforce it.

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