An Inner Harbor for locals [Letter]

Dan Rodricks is firing on all cylinders again in his recent column championing the idea that the Inner Harbor should not just be a tourist attraction and something that the city can squeeze ever more revenue out of but something that becomes a part of city dwellers' lives ("A remade Inner Harbor should be for locals," Nov. 24). When it truly is a part of city dwellers' lives, the tourists will follow. Memo to City Hall: The ultimate viability of the city lies with its livability factor, not with its tourist attractions.

What city dwellers want are real Baltimore shops and eateries around the harbor, not the retail chains that increasingly populate Harborplace. The new owners did away with General Growth's summer concerts on the plaza where people could walk by and be drawn into some great music by some incredibly talented Baltimore and D.C. bands. Now, we have the "street performers" with the come-on for tips every two minutes. Stay classy, Baltimore!

The recent city-commissioned study by Ayers Saint Gross was disappointing from several standpoints. And this isn't the first ASG study that exhibited a lack of creativity. Maybe its time for City Hall to wake up and get a new consultant.

The idea of a bridge across the harbor portrayed a stunning lack of appreciation for the natural beauty of the waterway and would deal a mortal wound to the natural and historical environment. I can imagine looking from Harborplace to Domino Sugar with a bridge obstructing the view and boat traffic as well. Why not enhance Baltimore's nautical heritage and establish a couple of free continuous running water taxis from the Aquarium or Pier 5 to the Rusty Scupper, and add to the free Harbor Connector run from the Frederick Douglas-Isaac Myers Maritime Park to the dock next to Under Armour at Tide Point and actually get people on the water?

One particularly poignant recent letter to The Sun letter was from a Rash Field volleyball player who was shocked by the ASG proposal to turn the field into a tourist attraction. This field is in use by the young people of the city continuously during the summer. What could be more important to the long-term viability of the city than to bring them to the harbor and get them out of their cars, off of the concrete, and into some great physical activity along the water's edge?

The operable phrase in the above ideas is "free." One thing for certain is that the people in the downtown are sick of City Hall's nickel and diming at every juncture. A little free parking and water transport across the harbor would create a great deal of good will. If anyone who worked at City Hall actually lived downtown, maybe things would be different.

Gary Moyer, Baltimore

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