Harbor walk growing one brick at a time

Volunteers/Where good neighbors get together

December 11, 1990|By Ellen Hawks | Ellen Hawks,Evening Sun Staff

IMAGINE BEING able to walk along Baltimore Harbor, from Canton to Key Highway, on a brick promenade. Picture the view of the water on this 7.5-mile walk dotted with gardens and art.

It's going to happen with the help of volunteers and the purchase of a brick.

A ''Buy a Brick'' campaign will sell 100,000 bricks for $50 each. The bricks purchased will be inscribed with the name of the family, individual, civic group or business that bought it. ''The inscriptions are guaranteed to last,'' says Roxanne Ward Zaghab, executive director of the Baltimore Harbor Endowment, 2809 Boston St., which is coordinating the campaign.

Half of the walk was completed 10 years ago when Harborplace was built. Now, all that is needed is to complete the walk from Harborplace to the Canton Waterfront Park at 2901 Boston St. on one side and to the Baltimore Museum of Industry on the other.

''For the promenade, we'll sell bricks for three years or until they are all gone, whichever comes first,'' says Zaghab.

Volunteers are needed to deliver posters and materials about the campaign, gift wrap bricks and help with gift certificates, which are available until Dec. 17. The campaign also needs help with telephone orders, computer data entry, mailings and to spread the word.

The name of Maria Smertycha will be inscribed on one brick, thanks to her daughter-in-law, Catherine Smertycha, from Canton, who is volunteering her time to the campaign.

''A free brick is given to those who volunteer 15 hours to the campaign. I've never done anything like this before, but I wanted a brick for my husband, Michael, who works for Social Security, and our two teen-age daughters. But most of all I wanted one for Maria Smertycha, my mother-in-law, who came to Canton from Poland in 1955 and lived there until she died in 1988. I want her name on a brick. So I'm giving my time for all of them,'' says 40-year-old Smertycha.

The first 2,000 inscribed bricks will be laid at Belt's Landing in Fells Point early next year.

''I can't wait to see our names on the bricks because I guess we all want to be immortalized in some way. My family walks at the harbor and we are so turned on by the revitalization. It's all so interesting and so important to me,'' she says.

Zaghab says volunteer Smertycha is invaluable. ''She comes in two days each week and helps organize the office, delivers posters, calls organizations to ask for support and answers the phone.''

Smertycha says that now that she has had a taste of volunteering, ''I'll keep it up even after this campaign.''

Baltimore Harbor Endowment was established six years ago by Mayor Schaefer for the purpose of promoting and providing public access to the harbor. ''Bringing people to the harbor for pleasure, preservation and education and to fund projects vital to the health of the harbor is our purpose,'' says Zaghab.

Money raised by ''Buy A Brick'' also will be used to establish gardens, shoreline art, projects to enhance pleasures of the harbor and to offer learning programs for children and families, plus more. Purchase of the bricks is tax-deductible.

To volunteer to the ''Buy a Brick'' campaign or for details of the other plans and projects that BHE has accomplished, call Roxanne Ward Zaghab at 732-8155.

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