Discount tickets at the Aquarium would help grow the city [Letter]

May 20, 2014

Asked to comment on the National Aquarium's ongoing debate about the proper treatment of its dolphins, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings Blake said that "its success is one of many elements Baltimore has that supports my goal of growing the city by 10,000 families, because to grow a city you have to attract new residents and give those already here more reasons to stay" ("National Aquarium's dolphin question at center of animal welfare debate," May 18).

I couldn't agree more, and recently a friend of mine brought up what I consider to be a pretty good idea. In an effort to support her goals for growth, the mayor (and future candidates for mayor) should consider devising a program by which Baltimore City residents receive discounted ticket prices at city attractions.

City residents should receive half-priced entry at the aquarium, Port Discovery and the Science Center. Besides just being fair (as city residents we already help to fund these attractions through voter-approved bond issues) this would have several other benefits.

First, discounted tickets would give low-income city residents greater access to high-quality educational venues. Additionally, those most likely to make multiple visits would be even more likely to do so and therefore much of the cost of offering discounted tickets could made up by the increased number of visits.

Finally, and most importantly, many choose the Baltimore area as a place to live specifically because of access to our wonderful museums and attractions. Discounted admission to those attractions would make newcomers more likely to settle in the city rather than in surrounding areas. This would certainly help the city attract new residents and retain those already here.

Mike Jacobson, Baltimore

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