3:00 PM EDT, March 22, 2012
As a member of Friends of President Station and a neighborhood resident who has worked tirelessly with many others to create the Baltimore Civil War Museum, I'm incredulous this historic building is now on the "neglected" list ("City eyeing sale of 15 sites," March 21). It's a unique museum/education venue not far from City Hall. It might behoove our local movers and shakers to stroll down to the harbor and have a look. The Civil War Museum is hardly neglected. Hundreds visit each month, admire the artifacts we've gathered over the years, watch a film, enjoy a personalized, guided tour and then shop for National Park's sanctioned Civil War souvenirs.
Regarding the Peale Museum, the Baltimore City Historical Society (of which I'm also a member) has been working with the city for years in an attempt to renovate the premises for their headquarters and open it once again to the public. The building is in fine shape, and there is grant money available, but the stumbling blocks tossed from City Hall have stymied the project.
It's nice City Comptroller Joan Pratt thinks "all these landmarks are beautiful, and I hope we can put them to productive use." I'd be delighted to pay Ms. Pratt's taxi fare so she can visit the Civil War Museum herself, and then she would understand how productive it is.
As a community activist, historic preservationist and champion of the downtown scene, I'm offended that Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blakewants to hand $46,500 to Annapolis consulting contractor Westholm & Associates to study the market value of these buildings. Baltimore has a plethora of real estate experts, and moreover, numerous experts on the historic significance of all the sites considered as "neglected." With a little imagination, determination and dedication, most of them could be brought up to speed financially.
One building not on the "neglected" list that should have been is 9 North Front Street, the former home of Mayor Sam Smith. It is currently occupied by the Women's Civic League (a moribund organization) and is never open to the public. This historic place could be used more effectively, and considering it has a dedicated parking lot, I'm surprised all the City Hall experts missed it. Surely they must be able to see it from the Board of Estimates Room!
Roz Ellis Heid, Baltimore
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