The phenomenal success of new homes in Cross Keys and along the Federal Hill shoreline suggests that many families move out of Baltimore simply because more of that type of housing isn't available here. Instead of blocking market-driven residential development, City Hall should encourage the creation of vibrant villages of initiative and enterprise.
Growing the city's economy requires a super salesperson to seal the deals.
LIKE him or not, William Donald Schaefer was the kind of unabashed civic booster Baltimore needs again.
Hands-off leadership may be possible when it comes to some areas of the city's operations. When it comes to economic development, though, the next mayor must be solidly in the lead.
There is an alphabet soup of public and private agencies -- BDC, GBA, DBED -- devoted to providing assistance in marketing Baltimore to help attract new businesses. What Baltimore needs in its next mayor is a super salesperson whose goal is creating a force of Baltimoreans committed to helping the city live up to its potential as the region's economic engine.
He or she needs a vision for the future of the city. And the grit to make it happen.
That means not only correcting what's wrong, but focusing on and nurturing what's right: Baltimore's strengths as a center of higher education, of high-quality health care, of arts and culture, and of tourism; the quality, range and relatively low cost of its housing stock; its proximity to Washington, New York and the Chesapeake Bay.
Some say Baltimore has had an image problem in recent years that has hindered efforts to grow its economy. If that's true, the problem may lie less in the details of tax increment financing or PILOTs (payments in lieu of taxes) or in the downtown vs. neighborhoods controversy than in the lack of leadership with a roll-up-your-sleeves determination.
Making Baltimore the kind of place to live, work and play that it can and should be will require the sort of follow-through, planning and user-friendliness in government that too often has been lacking.
Whether it's redevelopment of the west side, attracting industry to southwest Baltimore, strengthening neighborhood commercial corridors or fostering the development of new companies in the information-technology or biotechnology industries, Baltimore's next mayor must not sit on the sidelines.
Pub Date: 08/29/99