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With Opening Day coming, Baltimore works to remove snow from stadium lots

Grimy mountains of snow remain in a stadium parking lot needed for the Orioles home opener April 4.

The Orioles could use a few things by Opening Day: a corner outfielder and pitching depth.

Also, the disappearance of about 18,000 tons of snow.

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Grimy mountains of snow remain in a stadium parking lot needed for the April 4 opener.

"No, it would not melt on its own," said Jan Hardesty, spokeswoman for the Maryland Stadium Authority. "The snow has to go."

Hundreds of parking spaces for fans remain buried, so city crews are reloading and trucking the snow across the street — their second try for a dump site.

Last month, a historic snowfall buried Baltimore beneath nearly 30 inches. Crews in plows and dump trucks worked day and night to reopen narrow neighborhood streets. All that snow had to go somewhere.

"We had to think fast," said Adrienne Barnes, spokeswoman for the city's Department of Transportation. "We looked for the biggest area we could find."

The trucks began dumping snow at M&T Bank stadium, on the same lots used by the Orioles on Opening Day. Piles became mountains.

Crews were dumping two or three truckloads an hour, Barnes said. Some trucks were directed to dump at Pimlico Race Course.

At the stadium, three snow-melting machines arrived, but they couldn't keep up.

Last week, stadium authorities met with the city officials: The snow had to go.

"We expressed that we'd like to see it all gone by St. Patrick's Day," said Jeffrey Provenzano, a vice president of operations for the stadium authority.

Nearly 60,000 tons was mounded in stadium lots "G" and "H" at its peak, he said.

Barnes said crews aimed to melt some and move the rest by March 1.

Some of the stadium snow is being trucked to a nearby parking lot on Kloman Street along the Patapsco River. The lot, Barnes said, is owned by Sagamore Development Co., the real estate firm owned by Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank.

Plank offered the lot for free, she said.

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"We do feel very sure that we should make it before March 1," she said. "We're working tirelessly."

Once it's moved, crews will inspect the stadium lots for damage. The stadium authority will clean the lots, perhaps paint, and prepare for Opening Day.

The buried lots have nearly 1,300 parking spaces for fans and employees. For now, crews are focused on clearing there. Snow mounds will remain at Pimlico.

After all, Preakness isn't until May.

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