Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke's creation of a 40-member Development Incentives Task Force appears to have an ambitious agenda. Not only will the group develop support for policies to improve Baltimore's business climate, it may also lay the ground work for a national urban agenda.
Fourteen months ago, Mr. Schmoke unveiled "The Renaissance Continues: A 20-Year Strategy for Downtown Baltimore," the city's most recent "vision statement" for Baltimore's future. Many of the recommendations were provocative -- changing traffic directions on Charles Street, consolidating municipal services for downtown and rethinking some of the city's zoning regulations. However, there has been no groundswell to implement these suggestions.
Clearly, the new task force is designed to develop the political and civic consensus needed to enact some of the suggestions. The 40 members represent a great many new people who did not participate in earlier redevelopment efforts. They should bring some fresh thinking to many of Baltimore's old problems.