Inner Harbor needs more Baltimore in it [Letter]

November 30, 2013

Dan Rodricks' column ("A remade Inner Harbor should be for locals," Nov. 24) was so very spot on. The Inner Harbor has become a place for tourists and out-of-town visitors, rarely utilized by city residents. To truly thrive, it needs to be more citizen-centered and resident-focused.

In preparation for Thanksgiving, I spent hours at the Belvedere Square Market shopping at locally owned and sourced stores. Yet Harborplace is much closer to where I live. I could have been spending my money there.

Mr. Rodricks' article rightly touched on something that has been missing from downtown's development — authenticity. There is no authentic Baltimore feel to Harborplace, it is overrun with chain stores and restaurants that are a dime a dozen in a hundred other cities.

Harborplace should return to the mix of local vendors it had when it first opened. There were butchers, bakers and vegetable stands. Clearly, it was ahead of its time. But back then there were not as many city center residents as there now today.

It is precisely because the Inner Harbor draws tourists that it should be a hive of resident activity. If we want people to remember and have a real taste of Baltimore, visitors and residents need to bump elbows more. Even the famed Temple Bar neighborhood in Dublin has realized that it must lure back local residents in order to make the businesses along its historic streets economically viable.

It's time to say goodbye to "Ripley's Believe It or Not" and hello to goods and services locals want and need.

Steven Rivelis, Baltimore

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