Protect our Inner Harbor Edward Gunts' timely article...

SATURDAY MAILBOX

July 08, 2000

Protect our Inner Harbor

Edward Gunts' timely article, ("Barging in on the Inner Harbor," June 25) drew needed attention to the irony of letting entrepreneurial developers like David Cordish and merchant titans like the ESPN Zone direct the revitalization of our waterfront. Their commercial interests may not coincide with what is really best for Baltimore.

We have had 20 years to see that it is the waterfront that draws visitors. The ability to walk right up to the water's edge and look up at a huge ship just a few feet away is a precious gift.

Restaurants can locate anywhere, but tall ships need a waterway and the citizens of Baltimore need better protection for theirs.

Elizabeth H. Lehmann

Phoenix

My husband and I recently returned from visiting the tall ships in the Inner Harbor. Prior to that we had a delightful dinner in one of the many new restaurants down in Canton.

As we strolled through the crowded harbor, staring up in awe at the magnificent sailing ships, I couldn't help but reflect on the origin of the Inner Harbor. I distinctly remember the protests from the owners of restaurants in Little Italy. I recall "anti" Inner Harbor posters that were in many of the restaurants.

I remember people from Boston coming to Baltimore to tell us about the pitfalls of Faneuil Hall, upon which the Inner Harbor was to be patterned. I recollect many environmentalists complaining that the project would spoil the view of the natural harbor.

However, I also recall that William Donald Schaefer fought for this wonderful centerpiece to our city and won.

With the advent of the Inner Harbor came a restaurant boom, hotel boom, football and baseball stadiums, an aquarium and a science center, as well a revitalization of Federal Hill, Canton and Locust Point.

After my wonderful evening out, I just wanted to personally thank our former mayor and governor, William Donald Schaefer. His goals were always that which would make our state a better place in which to live.

Barbara Blumberg

Baltimore

If Rob Kasper wonders where all of the tourists to the Inner Harbor come from ("Harborplace Sails Along Smoothly," July 1) I ask him to come to The Top of the World in the World Trade Center.

I have been a volunteer docent up there for almost all of those 20 years, and I can tell you that visitors come from all over the world. I continue to be amazed at the array of nationalities, as attested to by our guest register.

These foreign visitors from Australia to Zimbabwe and out-of-staters are more interested in the planning, history and growth of the area, than are the local shoppers and snackers.

Bob Odenheimer

Baltimore

It is my hope that everyone read "Barging in on the Inner Harbor" by Edward Gunts. It should be reprinted. It is a true report on our Inner Harbor written by a very knowledgeable person.

This type of construction should end, along with so many marinas. As an example, the view from Bay Cafe in Canton was lovely. Now there are two big marinas on either side.

Twenty years ago, it was such a delight to stroll around the harbor and enjoy the water. Now there isn't much water to see. We are losing more and more water and waterfront to development as big dollar signs take over.

Do I enjoy going to the Inner Harbor and will I continue to go? Yes. However, much has been lost that cannot be regained.

We are trying to preserve Maryland's open spaces. What about our precious waterfront in Baltimore?

Jean R. Harmon

Baldwin

Debating merits of Morgan's engineering program

Will the real Morgan State University stand up?

Is it a "stellar" institution, a "sterling" institution as stated by Jamal-Harrison Bryant (letter, June 30)? Or is it one whose lights would dim if there were an alternative to its monopoly on electrical engineering programs in the Baltimore area?

The same supporter argues both points in the same letter. I want to know just how an alternative program at an integrated institution would hurt Morgan at all. It won't make a significant impact by drawing away non-black students. They only make up a tiny fraction of the enrollment in Morgan's electrical engineering program.

Given the fact that black students have the opportunity of attending an all-black institution, and many seem to prefer this, I don't see the UMBC program drawing down the black enrollment in that program, either.

So where's the beef? What harm could a little honest competition do to such a fine institution? It's not like Morgan was losing its program, or even losing students.

Now let's discuss that overused word "diversity."

Morgan is the least racially diverse institution in the Baltimore area. Yet it is held up as a model for increasing diversity. How? Is it because it increases the total numbers of black college graduates?

Or is it because by admitting and graduating students with poorer academic credentials it makes the crop of college graduates more diverse by including some of the inner city poor?

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