Harbor 2.0 plan needs a Trash 2.0 plan to go with it [Letter]

October 13, 2014

Laurie Schwartz's recent letter cheering the Inner Harbor 2.0 Plan after the Star-Spangled Spectacular and the Orioles' victory in the division is a positive note of which Baltimore can be proud ("Baltimore's winning streak," Sept. 18).

Ms. Schwartz has done a marvelous job over the years bringing out the best in Baltimore as president of the Waterfront Partnership.

Cloning her would be to our advantage, but her optimism about the Inner Harbor 2.0 Plan needs to be tempered with a concern for how to accomplish it successfully. Having read through the plan, too much effort seems centered around making the water clean for beaches and swimming.

That's great if we assume the water will be near perfect by the time the 2.0 Plan is completed, but there is no way that we will have a healthy, swimmable Harbor by the year 2020 under the present clean up plan unless we first develop a Trash Plan 2.0 to reach that goal.

The present plan is to build and add more trash interceptors to trap debris before visitors see it. This is expensive — $800,000 — and not enough of them can be built to cover the 26 outlets to the harbor.

Trash in the Harbor comes from neighborhoods up stream where massive accumulations of the debris build up in the backyards of vacant houses. Perhaps a Trash Plan 2.0 should evaluate the possibility of land keepers — similar to our present water keeper — who would work outside the Department of Public Works as watchdogs and work closely with neighborhood community associations to get these sites cleaned up.

If we want to further develop the Inner Harbor Plan 2.0, we must plan for a bolder Inner Harbor Trash Plan 2.0.

Raymond D. Bahr, Baltimore

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