City considers more and bigger special events New mayoral panel weighs tourist lures BALTIMORE CITY

September 01, 1993|By Eric Siegel | Eric Siegel,Staff Writer

Creation of new citywide festivals and expansion of existing ++ events such as Artscape and the Preakness Celebration are among the projects being eyed by a newly created mayoral advisory commission on tourism and culture.

The commission is also considering setting up a new visitors center in the Inner Harbor that would sell tickets for several area attractions and feature a professionally produced film about the city.

Leonard Sachs, a businessman and chairman of the group, said that the commission wanted to create major new events that would involve several existing tourist attractions and cultural activities.

"We're not going to do the City Fair in a carnival way," said Mr. Sachs, the chairman of Maryland Office Interiors Inc., referring to the now-defunct downtown celebration that during its two-decade-long existence came to symbolize the city's renaissance.

"We want to do something new and exciting."

He and other members said that the commission also wanted to expand existing events to encourage visitors to come from farther away and spend more time, and money, in the city.

The projects were outlined yesterday during and after the inaugural meeting of the Mayor's Advisory Commission on Tourism, Entertainment and Culture at the downtown headquarters of the Baltimore Development Corp.

Creation of the commission was among the recommendations of Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke's Economic Incentives Task Force, set up last year to develop initiatives to spur economic growth.

The commission's 34 members include representatives from a wide-range of leading business, cultural and government organizations.

The full report of the economic task force is tentatively set for release at the end of the month.

In announcing the creation of the commission yesterday, Mr. Schmoke said that tourism is "vitally important" to the economy of Baltimore.

"I think we've got a remarkable product here in the city. But we can't rest on our laurels," the mayor said.

Mr. Sachs, chairman of Maryland Office Interiors Inc., said that the commission's annual budget would be about $100,000, of which $60,000 would come from the city and the rest from private sources.

The commission will not replace existing organizations such as the Baltimore Office of Promotion and the Mayor's Advisory Committee on Art and Culture, both of which are represented on the commission, Mr. Sachs said.

Rather, he said, "We're here to facilitate, to help make things happen."

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