Documenting war of the road

New film recounts effort to block interstate cutting through city neighborhoods

December 16, 2006|By Jill Rosen | Jill Rosen,Sun reporter

City officials screened a new documentary yesterday on the efforts of Baltimoreans in the 1960s and 1970s to stop an interstate from cutting through and destroying many of the Inner Harbor's historic neighborhoods.

Road Wars, an 11-minute movie, was produced by the city's Heritage Area program and the Mayor's Office of Cable and Communications, and made in part with a grant from the development company Struever Bros. Eccles & Rouse.

Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski introduced the film yesterday at a ceremony at the Inner Harbor visitors center. She appeared in it as well, along with a number of residents who joined what became a legendary city battle.

"This fight was not about a highway, it was about saving our neighborhoods," the senator said. "That's why we fought so hard."

Beginning next month, the film will be aired continuously at Top of the World, the top floor of the World Trade Center at the Inner Harbor.

Before the screening, Mayor Martin O'Malley unveiled a new trailhead outside the visitors center. People will be able to use the $110,000 tool to navigate 15 paths for walking, bicycling and boating throughout the city. In addition to the trailhead, people can log onto its corresponding Web site, www.starspangledtrails.org, to get information on the trails.

The Chesapeake Bay Gateways Network, a program of the National Park Service, helped pay for the trailhead, and the Maryland Heritage Areas Authority contributed money for the $25,000 Web site.

Bill Pencek, director of Baltimore's Heritage Area program, said the trailhead and Web site will enable tourists and residents to better navigate Baltimore and make more sense of the trails that run through it.

O'Malley also announced the recipients of $225,000 in city Heritage Area grants.

The 14 winning projects include $4,000 to the Friends of Patterson Park for work on historic park entrances; $25,000 for the expansion of the Baltimore School for the Arts; and $7,500 for a project to test an electronic ticketing system for the city's water taxis.

jill.rosen@baltsun.com

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