Would Bubba Gump change the character of the Inner 0...

Letters to the Editor

July 20, 1998

Would Bubba Gump change the character of the Inner 0) Harbor?

As National Aquarium volunteers who love the Inner Harbor and understand deeply what it means to the city and its millions of visitors, we offer reasons that the shrimp boat barge should be located at a place other than the waterway between the aquarium piers.

Charm City would lose much of its charm if the tall restaurant barge were built in the proposed location -- actually on the Inner Harbor.

With the waterway hardly visible and a quintessential Baltimore view lost, the city would be surrendering some of its signature -- ++ some of what makes it unique and attracts more and more tourists each year.

The inconvenience to Baltimore tourists also concerns us. Think of the thousands of tourists appalled by this barge's noise and pollution -- delivery trucks, trash Dumpsters, exhausts and sewage disposal.

In addition, the elimination of the aquarium's planned bridge would necessitate a long, difficult walk for many visitors who are elderly, have small children or are people in wheelchairs.

Moreover, Baltimore cannot open the door with this precedent. Once the precedent is set, it would be too late, and the Inner Harbor could become increasingly cluttered and clogged. It wouldn't be Baltimore as we know it.

As National Aquarium volunteers, we choose to work in the Inner Harbor more than 90,000 hours annually.

We love Baltimore City and promote it enthusiastically, and we would hate to see it diminished.

We know the mayor's heart is with the city and how it appears to the world. We applaud another restaurant, but we send this heartfelt plea. The city should find a more suitable location for it.

Marie Tillman

Rosedale

This letter was signed by 137 other National Aquarium volunteers.

What's going on here? Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke pushed the Wyndham hotel project through in order to expand the Inner Harbor eastward.

So why does he, George Balog, Daniel P. Henson III and M. J. Brodie approve all development of new businesses around the Power Plant (the Bubba Gump restaurant project)?

During the past year, I have witnesses the transformation of the Power Plant into a magnificent tourist attraction. But I have not seen any development taking place on the other side of the building or across the harbor.

Everything is cluttered around the Power Plant and the National Aquarium, Baltimore's claim to fame. Isn't it about time the mayor and the Baltimore Development Corp. spread these projects around the entire harbor area?

Why not build the Bubba Gump restaurant at the site of the old Connelly's seafood restaurant?

Why doesn't the BDC come forward with plans they have already approved for the Inner Harbor and let the people know what is in the future.

We can only assume what's in store for Inner Harbor East -- slots.

George Peterson

Baltimore

The National Aquarium in Baltimore is upset about Baltimore City possibly allowing a Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. restaurant to be built on an Inner Harbor waterway in close proximity to its two buildings. Aquarium officials fear it would ruin its image. The same individuals also make it clear that they would not oppose having this same establishment built in a different location.

You would think that the National Aquarium would be opposed to such a restaurant simply because boiling shellfish alive is a cruel activity. How ironic that this issue was never brought up by the very entity which claims to care about marine animals.

Debra Wasserman

Baltimore

Our family loves to come down to the Inner Harbor to eat, shop, visit the National Aquarium or just to walk.

The addition of another restaurant would give us an almost overwhelming number of choices, which is good. However, with the suggested placement of the Bubba Gump restaurant on the inlet beside Pier Four, I am reminded of a conversation our family had not too long ago when visiting the Inner Harbor. Our young daughter, noticing the small parking lot between the shopping pavilions and the Maryland Science Center, jokingly suggested a parking pier.

We all laughed at the ridiculous suggestion. Now I'm wondering how long it will be before the city erects such a pier.

Please don't place the Bubba Gump restaurant on a waterway. The shopping is fun, the aquarium is great, the restaurants are fantastic, but the harbor is the real treasure.

Patti Koch

Columbia

On our recent vacation in California, we had the pleasure of eating at the original Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. in Monterey. It was attractive and well run, with good food and fun at reasonable prices.

Whatever the resolution to the current controversy about the location of Baltimore's Bubba Gump, let's be sure not to let this fine restaurant get away. It's a real catch.

Laura Pawlak

Parkton

I sincerely hope that the "influential business and civic leaders" have more luck against the placement of the Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. than the Waterfront Coalition had against the Wyndham Hotel.

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