Stadium neighborhood gets all spruced up


An army of city workers, armed with street sweepers, brooms, shovels and lawn mowers, swarmed into the neighborhoods surrounding Memorial Stadium yesterday in anticipation of Queen Elizabeth II's arrival.

They trimmed about 500 trees, mowed lawns, attacked pesky weeds growing in the cracks of sidewalks and kept an eye out for litter.

"What we're doing out here is we're cleaning up and making things real neat for the queen because we are excited," said Harold Scott of the Transportation Department. "Whenever somebody big comes around, I think it helps the city."

Mr. Scott and several co-workers form what they affectionately call "Scott and Houdini's crew." They were one of at least eight six-person crews the Transportation Department deployed for the cleanup.

By midday, they had taken up positions around the stadium. The dense air, more like summer than spring, was heavy with the smell of cut grass.

Elsewhere in the neighborhood, other crews went about their appointed rounds.

At 9:30 a.m., orange-shirted workers on secondary streets surrounding Memorial Stadium were using long brooms to clean leaves out of gutters.

"They've got a hundred [trash] trucks over at the stadium," one sweeper said.

Around the stadium, yellow street-cleaning trucks were driving up and down the main streets, cleaning litter from the curbs.

In the median along East 33rd Street, workers from the Recreation and Parks Department mowed the grass and planted canna flowers. The department used about 75 people, said spokeswoman Alma Bell.

"Particular attention is paid to that area when the Orioles are in season because not only our own citizens are there, but people are there from out of town, and we want to put on our best face," she said. "This was a guest beyond the ordinary, and we wanted to do something beyond the ordinary."

They put a fresh coat of paint on the hallway near Gate E-2, where Queen Elizabeth was supposed to enter the stadium, and they put another coat of paint on the walls of the stadium's Designated Hitter's Room, where a brief reception was held.

Ms. Bell said the crews started at Lake Clifton-Eastern High School, where they trimmed trees and cut the grass. Then they attacked St. Lo Drive, cutting more grass, trimming more trees. The scene was repeated along Hillen Road and 33rd Street.

"Any place that she might be able to see as she comes along," said Ms. Bell.

The city's Public Works Department also had a special detail working the streets of Ednor Gardens and the environs: one crew to sweep the streets, another to empty trash cans, and a superintendent to make sure the jobs were done well.

"We did inspect to make sure everything was OK. But in all honesty, we didn't make a special, one-time effort," said James Kapplin, a department spokesman. "The only thing different we did was that the superintendent made a special inspection."

Back at the stadium, just before lunch, Mr. Scott said he wasn't surprised with the treatment given the area around Memorial Stadium. To him, it seemed perfectly natural that Baltimore should do something special. Said Mr. Scott of Queen Elizabeth's visit:

"It's almost like somebody coming to your house."

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