Letters To The Editor

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

October 21, 2005

City is improving access to waterfront

"All Baltimore can brag about so far is an intermittent series of path pieces that dot the waterfront like a strip of Morse code." Sadly, this is how reporter Jill Rosen describes the result of efforts by planners, civic leaders and dedicated volunteers spanning three decades to ensure that future generations have public access to Baltimore's formerly industrial waterfront ("A good walk interrupted, again and again," Oct. 16).

The Sun's readers deserve a more balanced view of the progress made in recent years toward completing the planned 7.4-mile waterfront promenade from Canton to Locust Point.

Consider the following:

In 2000, an internal review by the incoming administration of Mayor Martin O'Malley concluded that approximately 70 percent of the promenade was complete. Today, 90 percent of the permanent promenade is completed, under construction or fully funded and ready to break ground.

By summer 2006, pedestrians will be able to enjoy an uninterrupted 3.3-mile stroll from the Rusty Scupper in Federal Hill to Henderson's Wharf in Fells Point - a 40 percent increase over 2000. In 2008, when the Ritz Carlton Residences completes its privately funded $8 million promenade, this distance will expand to 4.7 miles.

Since 2001, the quality of the public spaces and parks along the completed sections of the promenade has vastly improved.

In the last year alone, the private sector has invested hundreds of thousands of dollars landscaping the open space west of the World Trade Center, the National Aquarium's two piers and the entire stretch of Harbor East.

With state and federal funds, the city constructed Bond Street Park in Fells Point, and in April 2006, a new world-class waterfront park on the Inner Harbor's west shore will be unveiled.

More amenities along the route will provide an expansion of the promenade that is not measurable in miles.

Funding is in place and the design is completed to install way-finding signs that will begin to identify the promenade as a feature of Baltimore's waterfront. The new signs will be installed in spring 2006.

In June, fulfilling a vision laid out in the Mayor's 2002 Economic Development Growth Strategy, the long-awaited final phase of the 14-mile Gwynns Falls Trail reached the Inner Harbor, linking the waterfront promenade with more than 30 neighborhoods in west and southwest Baltimore.

This month, the mayor joined Inner Harbor property owners and business leaders in announcing the creation of the Partnership for Baltimore's Waterfront, a public-private partnership dedicated to raising standards of maintenance, landscaping and operation for the open spaces, parks and plazas along Baltimore's nonindustrial waterfront.

The planners whose vision is being realized today knew what we still know today - that the most feasible, responsible and cost-effective way to require private property owners to participate in building a public promenade is to harness the market forces that underlie the magic of living, working and playing on the waterfront.

Andrew B. Frank

Baltimore

The writer is a vice president of the Baltimore Development Corp.

Hiring ex-convicts costs others jobs

Dan Rodricks' column "If they can't work, then this city won't work" (Oct. 17) talks about how clean, sober and recently released from prison recovering addicts are having trouble finding work.

Mr. Rodricks points out that there is a problem; however, he fails to realize what the problem is.

The problem is not that these convicts cannot find work, it is that these people were doing and selling drugs.

The "absolute prohibitions" by businesses on hiring these people are not ludicrous.

What is, however, is the suggestion that these convicts should be allowed to take jobs away from those who have stayed away from drugs and jail.

I would ask Mr. Rodricks: If you owned a business, would you want a drug offender working for you?

Matt Wasserman

Reisterstown

Pushing bad science with faulty math

The Sun's article "`Design' defended as science" (Oct. 19) quotes a defender of intelligent design as claiming that creationism is "180 degrees different from intelligent design."

His math is as faulty as his science - the real difference is 360 degrees.

Jeffry Mueller

Eldersburg

Arts are important to a full education

It was heartening and encouraging to read the column "A sour note at back-to-school night" (Opinion

Commentary, Oct. 7), particularly because it rightly documents the importance of maintaining music education in our schools.

The author also draws important attention to the role that parents play in ensuring that the arts play a vital role in our students' education.

A recent survey found that more than 90 percent of Americans believe the arts are important for children's education.

Although the emphasis on math and reading assessment is often top news, we must remember that the arts help teach students skills that enable them to achieve at higher levels in all subjects.

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