Tag Archives: outreach

The Critical Importance of Community Management in Parking

by Andrew Sachs, MFA, CAPP

Stepping Up to the Plate

Downtown Baltimore’s Harbor Park Garage took community engagement to a new level, feeding the community during the coronavirus crisis

In the spring of 2020, Baltimore, Maryland – and the world – was shaken by the novel coronavirus COVID-19. The city’s St. Patrick’s Day parade was canceled, non-essential employees worked from home, and restaurants were forced to shut their doors.

At Harbor Park Garage, a typically bustling garage located near Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, as traffic slowed to a trickle, our staff kicked into high gear. In addition to taking steps to keep customers and staff safe and healthy, we started thinking about what we could do to help members of our community hit hardest by the virus.

Heart of the Park

First, we reached out to regular parkers who rely on tips for income, meeting with them individually to offer discounts and support. But we wanted to do more.

That’s when Heart of the Park was born—a partnership between the garage and Pierpoint Restaurant, a 20-year old Baltimore institution known for its excellent food.

Our team worked with Pierpoint chef/owner Nancy Longo to figure out a way to inexpensively make high-quality meals. Together, we provide meals to 200 people in need each day. The meals are distributed at the garage; people simply need to show up to receive a free lunch and dinner to heat at home.

Garage as Gateway 

Heart of the Park was inspired by specific needs that came about due to coronavirus, but the initiative is in keeping with Harbor Park’s longstanding philosophy that a parking garage can and should be more than an anonymous repository for cars.

Our garage is a gateway between home and work, dinner out, and other adventures. A happy garage experience—one that puts a smile on the guest’s face—can make any of those activities feel more fun.

Though guests weren’t on their way to the office or to restaurants during the coronavirus crisis, Heart of the Park still helped us generate some smiles—when we needed them more than ever.

Manager as Ambassador

Interacting with the community through Heart of the Park also solidified our belief that while counting parking spaces is an essential part of our job, it’s not the whole job. Our managers also excel at being community ambassadors.

To foster relationships, Harbor Park managers prioritize engagement with people parking in the garage and with nearby businesses. We regularly dine at local restaurants, pop into shops and attractions, and get to know the people who run them (whether or not they are official garage partners). Those visits were put on pause during coronavirus closures, but thanks to Heart of the Park, we were able to deepen our connection with both old friends and new.

The Benefits of Giving Back

The community management approach has opened up many opportunities over the past few years that have, in total, had a significant effect on the garage’s revenue. Likewise, the Heart of the Park initiative has already translated into some tangible benefits for Harbor Park as a business, with an increase in social media followers, high engagement with posts, and coverage by local press outlets.

But even more importantly, it helped all of us at Harbor Park do something to help the people in our community stay afloat. The outpouring of thanks we received was incredibly gratifying for all of our employees and reminded us why we’re proud to be a part of the Baltimore community.

Andrew Sachs, MFA, CAPP  is the President of Harbor Park Garage.

Download Heart of the Park Handout


Andrew Sachs
Harbor Park Garage
55 Market Pl
Baltimore, MD 21202-4049 US
Mobile: (310) 476-6100


IPMI News: Message from the IPMI CEO & Chair – Stay Connected

We know you and your staff are facing huge challenges and many have already faced the reality of reducing your workforces as well. You are not alone. We want you to know we are here with you and will offer steadfast support during these unprecedented times.

IPMI is wholly committed to helping you stay connected with your fellow industry professionals so you can continue to share challenges, find solutions, and tap into a wealth of resources that is the hallmark of IPMI. We are continuing to build additional online resources daily and invite you to share this message with every member of your staff and industry colleagues.

This is not “business as usual” and we stand committed to support you now and into the future—when our country, our industry, and our organizations make a sure recovery from this crisis.

Ways to Stay Connected


For more details on the programs listed below and additional resources, visit and bookmark parking-mobility/stayconnected

  • Parking & Mobility magazine is going fully digital to ensure the fastest, most reliable delivery to you and your staff members wherever you are. Receive it free to your office or home email, or both. Click here to request a digital subscription.
  • Forum, IPMI’s online community, is the place your peers are connecting, asking and answering questions, and sharing their experiences with colleagues. If you are not receiving its daily digest email, please let us know; also reach out if we can help you with logging in or an orientation to the site.
  • On March 31, we are hosting additional free, industry-specific Shoptalks related to the COVID-19 crisis.  You determine the topics and conversation by sharing issues important to you and participating live. Recordings are posted for those who cannot attend the live events, and we will continue to convene our community this way regularly to keep in touch.
  • IPMI has opened up a series of free on-demand courses and webinars to our members to create and maintain professional development opportunities for your entire team at no charge.
  • For individuals facing job transition, IPMI has waived membership fees, and created the IPMI Resume Exchange on Forum for professionals interested in posting resumes and making connections with potential employers. Members update their online profiles with direct imports from LinkedIn. Our Career Center provides members with position listings free of charge, which are shared on Forum and social media.

Helping industry professionals stay connected has been in IPMI’s DNA for nearly 60 years. Our community will continue to come together, and our industry will recover. You have our commitment to being there for you.

Have ideas on how we can help you right now? Please email me at conrad@parking-mobility.org

 We are here for you. Let’s all stay connected. 


Shawn D. Conrad, CAE

Chief Executive Officer

International Parking & Mobility Institute




David G. Onorato, CAPP

Chair, IPMI Board of Directors

Pittsburgh Parking Authority