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Lighting Baltimore's way

Is Baltimore poised for a brighter future?

The future is bright. While 2015 was a rough year, one that many will study and learn from for a very long time, there is much to look forward to within our city limits. I'd like to offer words of advice and encouragement to all those involved in the city that I love and call home from the viewpoint of an engaged citizen, local student and young professional.

Light City 2016 kicks off this week, an event designed to send a message to the world that Baltimore is much more than what has been on the news or featured in a popular television show. Like SXSW (South by Southwest) in Austin, Texas, people from all over the city, state and country will meet for a week to inspire innovation, present viewpoints, celebrate art and perform music. The light-filled spectacle will touch all of the senses and hopefully set the bar high for years to come ("Organizers hope Light City will light the way for a renewed Baltimore," March 26).

The planning for Light City 2016 has been in the works for many months, and as the curtains open so to speak, it is my sincere hope that Baltimore will rise to the occasion. To our police, let's ensure the safety of all guests, day or night, by organizing properly and remaining vigilant. To my fellow citizens, keep the downtown area clean and attractive for everyone involved. Let's buy local, often, and provide a real economic impact to area businesses. The ceiling for this sort of event is very high as long as everyone plays their part. We remain One Baltimore.

When the lights go down, the city will turn its full attention to April 26 and Maryland's primary election. This particular event has been provided some extra zest in both the number of able candidates on the city ballot and the many themes that resonate throughout their rhetoric. City Council will see several new faces take office in addition to mayor. Despite what early polls may indicate, it is anyone's guess who will ultimately win 100 Holliday Street's top seat, but one thing is for sure — there are many, many undecided voters.

To my fellow voters, I implore you to use the month of April to make an educated decision and exercise your given civic right to vote. No matter who or what you support, Baltimore deserves the largest turnout in decades. This is another opportunity to show the rest of the state and country that Baltimore stands for more than meets the eye. The camaraderie generated by swarms of people in each district joining together for the city's future will have a ripple effect into other parts of life. On April 26, I hope each and every one of you will participate and witness first-hand the power of democracy in action!

And finally, after many months of deliberation, Baltimore's own Under Armour has embarked on a journey that will alter the landscape of this city for generations to come. Hundreds of acres within South Baltimore's Port Covington and Cherry Hill are set to undergo drastic changes. There are thousands of integral pieces that make up the project's execution, such as what a $535 million TIF entails and how to handle the Hanover Street Bridge repairs. The remaining details will slowly emerge to a patient public while we admire the initial renderings or visit City Garage. Stakeholders inherently trust the company like a member of their own family since it acts as a source of pride and fashion both locally and throughout the world. We cheer for success against its West Coast rival, encouraging continual growth financially and otherwise.

To the decision makers and executors of such a large and impactful project, I hope with all of my logical being that you take time to consider the impact of every decision, big or small. The infrastructure that you are about to uproot and replace is older than most people reading this and yet still provides resources to citizens daily. We will "pardon your progress" for the foreseeable future but be mindful of every ripple effect and keep us informed. Tell us about the development and proposed changes throughout this massive project's lifespan. Invite us to forums and, when possible, ask for input. While your company will reap the majority of the benefits that this new headquarters will provide, we are still neighbors and co-inhabitants of the same cityscape.

Baltimore, the future is bright. Let's do this right.

Brendan Marshall, Baltimore

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