Visions for the Inner Harbor

July 24, 1998

KURT L. SCHMOKE is mayor of Baltimore.

The Inner Harbor is the center jewel in the crown for Baltimore. It needs to remain a world-class center by continuing to be a high quality, public waterfront. It is and will remain a place for a diverse selection of family entertainment, including the National Aquarium, the Science Center, restaurants and boating activities.

We will work to continue to maintain this mixture and to keep the area fresh and vibrant. Stores and activities will change periodically, but we will maintain our commitment to the space as an inviting center of family-oriented activity.

WILLIAM DONALD SCHAEFER is a former mayor of Baltimore and a former governor of Maryland.

I would push future Inner Harbor development to the east. Otherwise, it will become a honky tonk area - everybody who has an idea for a new restaurant will be down there. You can't jam any more development down there. Already, at the Power Plant, there's going to be a restaurant on a barge; one barge restaurant, OK, but two, that's too many.

There was never to be anything in that water but boats. It will be a terrible mistake if we start putting too many barges there. You don't want to clutter the place.

Let's leave well enough alone.

WALTER SCHAMU is principal at SMDA architects and has lived in South Baltimore for more than 20 years.

We need to establish a master plan for the Inner Harbor and adhere to it. The National Aquarium, for example, has become the signature architectural piece of the Inner Harbor; it should not be crowded with too much "stuff" - kiosks, bridges, floating barges, etc.

Uphold the "less is more" concept. We have a lot of architectural bravado there now. I don't propose that buildings be boring, but I do agree with Inner Harbor East planner Stan Eckstut that buildings along the harbor, particularly Inner Harbor East, "should behave themselves."

JANET MARIE SMITH, an architect, was vice president of planning and development for the Baltimore Orioles during the construction of Camden Yards. She commutes from her Baltimore home to Atlanta, where she is president of Turner Sports & Entertainment Development Inc.

Twenty years ago, according to the dictates of the city, the Rouse Co. built two pavilions - not one L-shaped building - to preserve vistas at the Inner Harbor and provide access to Charles Center. That was a good example of how public policy helps to create value - both for the Inner Harbor and surrounding properties.

Now, as the Inner Harbor has reached maturity, let's not plug up the open spaces that are designed to give inland properties a view of the water. If developers have good, viable tenants, let's put them in under-used properties a block or so away.

Around the country, Baltimore is considered a city that made good on a vision to transform a derelict downtown into a national showplace. The city should be a good caretaker of the jewel it created and a staunch advocate of high, unwavering standards for development, not approving projects one-by-one, but jointly to create a tapestry that blends together, tastefully.

CHARLES DUFF is a writer, a developer and planner with Jubilee Baltimore and president of the Baltimore Architecture Foundation.

Downtown has always been about making money, but there are different ways to go about that. Historically, the Inner Harbor has employed one way, but that's changing.

The two approaches to development are as different as, let's say, Paris and Glen Burnie. In Paris, the government has always controlled the appearance of the city, restricting any one building from not complementing the others.

In Glen Burnie, particularly on Ritchie Highway, there's been very little government control over development. Buildings scream to get the attention of passers-by.

The Inner Harbor has been a Paris of sorts until recently. Now, it's becoming an urban Glen Burnie. Maybe it's big enough for both, maybe not. I don't know. But I'm pretty sure that's how we should approach the questions that Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. is raising.

BOB KEITH manages a harbor education program for Ocean World Institute Inc., aboard Half Shell, a 70-year-old oyster freight boat and is author of "Baltimore Harbor - A Picture History" (Johns Hopkins Press).

Baltimore's harbor resembles Epcot Center, with a horseshoe of land ringing a body of water. The priority now is to complete the promenade and establish public or private shuttles connecting opposite sides of the horseshoe so people can walk and ride full circle, stopping at points along the way.

Satellite parking for cars and tour buses should be provided at the outer tips of the horseshoe, near Canton and Fort McHenry. The ride in by water taxi (or maybe a future streetcar?) would be part of the fun of visiting Baltimore, and would relieve road congestion and save millions on new downtown parking.

Pub Date: 7/24/98

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