2:00 PM EDT, August 17, 2013
Despite all the back and forth squabble over the proposed Harbor Point development, I believe that in the end it can only benefit the city ("Harbor Point bonds gets OK," Aug. 13). My biggest concern, or rather disappointment, over the past weeks of daily coverage on the point's developments has been the lack of discussion of environmental concerns.
Having recently moved back to the Baltimore area, I have been shocked by the dilapidated health of the Inner Harbor and the unprecedented amount of trash not only near the water but flying around the streets on a daily basis. There certainly seem to be a number of leaders mounting the charge to clean things up — Blue Water Baltimore, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Biohabitats and Living Classrooms to name a few — that have vowed for a fishable and swimmable harbor by 2020. But without large corporations and developers getting out front on these efforts, I believe it is an insurmountable goal. When you have mega commercial and residential infrastructure developments (such as Harbor Point) that do not even whisper about environmentally friendly initiatives, I believe those goals can never be met.
In 2013, environmentalism has a much more friendly ring than in days of old. An environmentalist is no longer a tree hugger who is far removed from business growth and consumerism. Environmentalists of the 21st century understand the need for growth, the need for a viable economy and the need for social well being. Environmentally friendly no longer means more regulation, stricter enforcement, don't go there, don't do that; but rather, a means of making better informed decisions that help move the environment, the economy and society forward as one. This is the reason why the Harbor Point development team needs to be promoting how their development will help heal the harbor and help clean it up. Will they have a floating wetland promenade that will not only be visually appealing and attract visitors but also provide habitat for bay creatures as well as remove nitrogen from the water while putting oxygen in it? Will they have an environmental education site for students and the public? Will they have a stormwater runoff plan that traps run off water and filters it before reaching the harbor?
I am of the feeling that developers, residents and businesses should make this one of their top priorities rather than waiting for retroactive city, state or federal intervention, which will inevitably be too late to achieve what everyone in Baltimore can get behind — a beautiful and healthy harbor.
Andy French, Baltimore
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